BLUE­BIRDS UNSTUCK AT TOF­FEES THANKS TO SIG­URDS­SON

Wales On Sunday - - SPORT - IAN MITCHELMORE Foot­ball Writer [email protected]­line.co.uk

CARDIFF City’s strug­gles away from home in the Premier League con­tin­ued as they were beaten 1-0 by Ever­ton at Good­i­son Park.

The Blue­birds frus­trated Marco Silva’s side for long pe­ri­ods, but the Tof­fees’ pres­sure even­tu­ally told as Gylfi Sig­urds­son struck a 59th-minute win­ner to in­flict a ninth league de­feat of the cam­paign on the Blue­birds.

Neil Warnock made just one change from the side that de­feated Brighton be­fore the in­ter­na­tional break, with Harry Arter re­turn­ing from sus­pen­sion to re­place Josh Mur­phy in the start­ing lineup.

The hosts started brightly, although Cardiff looked dan­ger­ous on the break, with Cal­lum Pater­son drilling an ef­fort wide in be­tween half-chances for Michael Keane and Idrissa Gu­eye for Ever­ton.

But in truth, clear-cut op­por­tu­ni­ties were few and far be­tween for the away side as the Tof­fees dom­i­nated pos­ses­sion, although they strug­gled to test Neil Etheridge in the Cardiff goal.

An­dre Gomes fired into the side net­ting just be­fore the half-hour mark, while the Por­tuguese shot wide soon af­ter.

And the home faith­ful were de­mand­ing a penalty on the stroke of half-time as Lu­cas Digne went down un­der a chal­lenge from Kadeem Har­ris, but ref­eree Paul Tier­ney waved away the Tof­fees’ protests as Cardiff went into the break on level terms.

Nor­mal ser­vice was re­sumed af­ter the restart as Ever­ton con­tin­ued to con­trol pos­ses­sion.

And they carved out an open­ing five min­utes into the se­cond half as Richarli­son picked out Sig­urds­son on the edge of the area, but the Ice­land in­ter­na­tional shot well over the bar.

That op­por­tu­nity briefly sparked the game into life as both sides looked to hit their op­po­nents on the break, and Cardiff had Sol Bamba to thank for clear­ing off his own line af­ter Sig­urds­son latched onto Bernard’s through ball.

And Ever­ton’s pres­sure fi­nally told as Etheridge palmed away Theo Wal­cott’s low shot, but Sig­urds­son was on hand to lash home the re­bound just be­fore the hour mark.

Tem­pers flared as Kadeem Har­ris clat­tered into Ever­ton goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford soon af­ter, with the winger earn­ing a book­ing for his trou­bles.

Cardiff briefly re­sponded well to go­ing be­hind as Warnock sent on Mur­phy and Ju­nior Hoi­lett for the lat­ter stages of the game.

And Pick­ford was called into ac­tion in the 73rd minute, with the Eng­land in­ter­na­tional div­ing low to his right to turn Vic­tor Ca­ma­rasa’s drilled ef­fort to safety. Be­fore ref­eree Tier­ney turned down Cardiff’s ap­peals for a spot-kick af­ter a Sea­mus Cole­man chal­lenge on Greg Cun­ning­ham.

Etheridge did well to deny sub­sti­tute Ade­mola Look­man late on as the home side pushed for a se­cond.

Cardiff did have one fi­nal chance to snatch a draw as Joe Ralls whipped in a free-kick from the by­line, but Pater­son headed over from just four yards out.

Ever­ton twice went close at the death through Richarli­son and Cenk To­sun while Mur­phy had a shot blocked deep into in­jury-time, although a fran­tic end­ing pro­duced no goals as Cardiff slumped to yet an­other away de­feat.

Kadeem Har­ris clashes with Ever­ton goal­keeper Jor­dan Pick­ford

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