Mahon downs nine-man Cardiff
Gavin Mahon netted the decisive goal from the bench to hand QPR a 1-0 victory over nine-man Cardiff.
Last Updated: 08/11/08 6:06pm
Gavin Mahon netted the decisive goal from the bench to hand Queens Park Rangers a 1-0 victory over nine-man Cardiff City.
Mahon entered the fray in the second period to strike with 10 minutes remaining as the visitors had Darren Purse and Miguel Comminges dismissed by referee Lee Probert.
The two sides are now level on points in the hunt for promotion, with the Bluebirds currently in the play-off places on goal difference.
Michael Chopra, who rejoined Cardiff on loan from Sunderland this week after snubbing QPR, worked hard up front but could not find a way through on his second debut as his side slumped to a first defeat on the road this season.
Caretaker boss Gareth Ainsworth, who tasted defeat for the first time at Ipswich last week, now takes his side to Manchester United in the Carling Cup on the back of a morale-boosting win - although on this evidence Sir Alex Ferguson will not have any sleepless nights between now and Tuesday.
The Bluebirds almost went ahead in the opening minute when Roger Johnson met Peter Whittingham's corner with a firm header which flew just over the top.
Chopra got his first sight of goal in the 12th minute, turning in the area and firing an angled drive wide of Radek Cerny's right post.
Stephen McPhail came even closer 10 minutes later after Whittingham reached the by-line and cut the ball back, the midfielder's first-time shot forcing a fine fingertip save from Cerny.
But City were reduced to 10 men after 28 minutes when Purse went in high, and fractionally late, on Cook and was instantly dismissed by referee Probert.
Emmanuel Ledesma forced a save from City goalkeeper Tom Heaton with a volley from outside the area, while Whittingham fizzed a shot just over the crossbar as the half drew to a close.
After the break, Cerny saved from Eddie Johnson and the on-loan Fulham forward also dragged a shot wide.
Samuel Di Carmine fired over for the hosts, while a Peter Ramage cross had Heaton back-pedalling but the keeper just managed to stop the ball from crossing the line.
Heaton then palmed away a fierce drive from substitute Akos Buzsaky, with Patrick Agyemang flagged offside as he attempted to convert the rebound.
For City, Chopra felt he should have had a penalty when he was clumsily felled by Damion Stewart, and Roger Johnson headed wide.
But it was Rangers who secured the points in the 80th minute when Mahon rose highest to nod Ramage's deep cross back past Heaton and into the net.
Comminges, who was booked for a foul on Buzsaky moments earlier, then saw red for dissent to cap a rotten afternoon for the visitors.