Blades too sharp for Bluebirds
Sheffield United have leapfrogged Burnley in the table following a resounding 3-0 success over Cardiff City.
Last Updated: 22/03/09 5:23pm
Sheffield United have leapfrogged Burnley in the Championship table following a resounding 3-0 success over nine-man Cardiff City.
The Bluebirds were up against it at Ninian Park as early as the 25th minute when David Cotterill converted from the penalty spot after Gabor Gyepes was dismissed for hauling down Darius Henderson.
Ross McCormack was then shown a red card for a professional foul. The visitors made good use of their numerical superiority after the break with goals from Jamie Ward and Stephen Quinn wrapping up the success.
Cardiff had lost just twice on home soil this season in the Championship, but Dave Jones' men remain sixth in the table despite the defeat while United look good to secure a play-off spot this term.
Victory lifted the Blades to fourth spot but Cardiff should have opened the scoring inside the 10th minute. Joe Ledley delivered an out-swinging corner from the left flank and Gyepes sent his header wide of the mark.
Tip around the post
However, the Blades went even closer in the 19th minute when Greg Halford collected possession and hit a right-footed shot which Bluebirds goalkeeper Stuart Taylor was forced to tip around a post.
United began to build momentum and took the lead when Gyepes hauled down Henderson and Cotterill did the rest from 12 yards to claim only his third goal of the season.
In the 27th minute, Cardiff threatened an equaliser when a free-kick from Gavin Rae was met with a firm header by Miguel Comminges which forced Paddy Kenny into a smart stop.
However, the Bluebirds suffered a major setback in the 33rd minute when McCormack was sent off for a professional foul on Kyle Naughton.
United quickly went in search of a second goal and Halford shot straight at Taylor before Quinn fired narrowly wide from the edge of the 18-yard box.
In the 39th minute, Cardiff had a half-chance when Rae saw his header blocked by Naughton before Comminges fired wide for Cardiff on the stroke of half-time.
Sealed the points
Within seconds of the restart, United sealed the points when Cotterill crossed from the right flank and Ward headed home from six yards out.
Blackwell's men sought to press home their advantage but Quinn's effort in the 58th minute sailed just wide.
Cardiff, to their credit, refused to surrender and Roger Johnson headed a corner from Comminges just wide and then Rae sliced a shot off-target.
United substitute Craig Beattie hit a shot just wide in the 74th minute and was at it again four minutes later with another fine strike that narrowly failed to test Taylor.
The Blades were comfortable and never looked like letting Cardiff back into the game as they played out a victory which lifted them three points above their hosts.
Quinn added the coup de grace in the 87th minute when he took a pass from Beattie and rifled home left-footed from six yards.