BAMBA IN LATE SHOW TO TOAST WARNOCK’S CENTURY
SOL Bamba struck a dramatic 90th-minute winner to earn Cardiff City victory over Brighton in Neil Warnock’s 100th match in charge of the Bluebirds.
The Seagulls had to play two-thirds of the match with only 10 players following the dismissal of Dale Stephens for a nasty tackle on Greg Cunningham after Callum Paterson had cancelled out Lewis Dunk’s opener.
And after a sustained period of pressure, Bamba lashed home from close range in the 90th minute to earn Cardiff their second Premier League win of the season.
Warnock made three changes from the 1-0 defeat to Leicester City last time out, with Cunningham, Joe Ralls and Kadeem Harris replacing Joe Bennett, Harry Arter and Bobby Reid.
But the hosts got off to the worst possible start as Brighton captain Dunk escaped marker Bamba headed home Solly March’s free-kick to give the Seagulls the lead in the sixth minute.
Chris Hughton’s men looked at ease in the opening stages as Cardiff struggled to test Mat Ryan in the Brighton goal.
And it was the visitors who had the chance to go two up soon after, as Anthony Knockaert squared from the left to pick out March, who fired his effort well wide of Neil Etheridge’s goal.
They created another opening through Gaetan Bong on the left soon after, although Glenn Murray couldn’t turn home the Cameroonian’s cross.
But, after a miserable opening, the Cardiff faithful finally had something to cheer just before the half-hour mark as Harris jinked his way into the box before his deflected cross fell to Paterson, who headed home his third goal in four games.
The goal sparked the hosts into life as Ralls then tested Ryan with a volley from the edge of the area.
But the major turning point came in the 34th minute as Stephens was shown a straight red card by referee Martin Atkinson for a dangerous studs-up challenge on Cunningham.
Warnock’s men saw plenty of the ball after that and had half-chances, although they went into the break level at 1-1.
Cardiff started the second half on the front foot, but didn’t create a clear opening until the 60th minute as Harris curled an effort on to the crossbar from 25 yards out, with Josh Murphy firing the rebound well over.
Captain Sean Morrison was forced off in the 70th minute having received two knocks to the head, with Lee Peltier making his return from injury.
Warnock then sent on Junior Hoilett and Reid in place of Murphy and Ralls as Cardiff desperately went in search of a winner.
But it was Etheridge who was called into action first as the Philippines international was forced to deny Jose Izquierdo late on.
Camarasa twice tested Ryan in the final 10 minutes before Cardiff finally got their rewards in the final minute of regular time.
Bamba’s overhead kick hit the post before an almighty scramble which saw Hoilett miss his kick and Paterson hit the bar before the ball fell back at the Ivorian’s feet and he smashed it home.