BAMBA IN LATE SHOW TO TOAST WARNOCK’S CEN­TURY

Wales On Sunday - - SPORT ON SUNDAY -

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.

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