Cardiff 4-0 Sunderland: Callum Paterson nets twice on miserable return for Chris Coleman
Last Updated: 13/01/18 5:53pm
Chris Coleman endured a miserable return to the Cardiff City Stadium as Sunderland were beaten 4-0 by Cardiff on Saturday lunchtime.
Back in the stadium where Coleman became a Welsh icon with his work with the national team, he saw his team concede four second-half goals and have Didier Ndong sent-off for a reckless tackle on Junior Hoilett.
New Cardiff signing Yanic Wildschut starting on the bench after joining from Norwich on loan. While, on-loan Chelsea youngster Jake Clarke-Salter went straight into the starting line-up for Sunderland.
Cardiff came alive after the break to end a run of four straight defeats and move back into the automatic promotion places thanks to two goals from Callum Paterson and one apiece from Joe Ralls and Anthony Pilkington.
It was a first half of nerves as chances were few and far between. George Honeyman blazed over for the visitors while Ralls and Hoilett tested Sunderland goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Richards (6), Morrison (7), Manga (7), Bamba (7), Bennett (6), Ralls (9), Paterson (8), Hoilett (7), Mendez-Laing (6), Zohore (7)
Subs: Wildschut (7), Pilkington (7)
Sunderland: Ruiter (5), Jones (5), O'Shea (5), Browning (5), Clarke-Salter (6), Oviedo (5), Wilson (6), Ndong (4), Honeyman (6), Gooch (6), Maja (6).
Subs: Cattermole (6), Asoro (5), McManaman (6)
Man of the match: Joe Ralls
The contest sparked into action after the break when Paterson met Ralls' corner inside 90 seconds of the restart.
Two minutes later referee Andy Madley deemed Ndong's lunge on Hoilett worthy of a red card after he left his studs on Hoilett's ankle.
There seemed no way back for Sunderland and so it proved as Cardiff produced the best move of the match.
Neat passing released Kenneth Zohore down the left and his cross was swept home by the supporting Ralls in the 55th minute.
Sunderland came close to a lifeline when Bruno Manga almost sliced into his own net but Paterson punished them again when he thumped home from a tight angle.
Sunderland's heaviest defeat under Coleman was confirmed when Pilkington prodded home the simplest of finishes in stoppage time.
Neil Warnock: "We were bound to be a little bit low on confidence. "Even in the first half you could see we were a little bit apprehensive in front of goal. We had to work hard to get that goal, but you could see the relief when we scored at the start of the second half.
"We were then free to play and we really stepped up a gear, we played some good stuff and the energy was back. We looked a little bit lethargic over Christmas, so it was just nice to get back on to winning ways."
Chris Coleman: "It was painful. We were 1-0 down 45 seconds after the restart and I can't accept that. We made a poor mistake and you can't do that where we are. Well, you can - but if you do we will stay where we are. It's a soft mentality because toughness is not about nailing someone and putting them on their backside.
"It's easy to do that. Toughness is mental, staying strong and making consistently good decisions."
Cardiff have an FA Cup replay against Mansfield to contend with on Tuesday before a trip to Sheffield Wednesday next weekend while Sunderland have a huge clash with Hull City on their agenda next.