Final day anguish for Cardiff
Cardiff suffered the torment of dropping out of the play-off places following a 1-0 defeat to Sheff Wed.
Last Updated: 03/05/09 3:45pm
Cardiff suffered the torment of dropping out of the play-off places following a 1-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday.
The Bluebirds, who had been in contention for automatic promotion just a few weeks ago, needed only a point from their match at Hillsborough to clinch a top-six berth.
But Jermaine Johnson's superb goal meant they left Yorkshire empty-handed and below Preston in the table, having collected the same amount of points as Alan Irvine's men but scored fewer goals.
Both sides raced out of the blocks, but it was Wednesday who forced the first save in the third minute when City goalkeeper Tom Heaton parried Marcus Tudgay's header.
At the other end Chopra's first touch let him down when Kevin McNaughton's cross bounced through to the unmarked striker at the far post.
Chopra was strong enough to hold off Richard Wood and fire in on goal from the edge of the penalty area, but home goalkeeper Lee Grant saved comfortably.
Owls striker Tudgay was inches wide following Lewis Buxton's cross soon after and was then thwarted by the on-rushing Heaton when chasing a ball over the top.
Cardiff forward Chris Burke then ran at the home defence and when the ball broke free inside the area Whittingham was narrowly wide with his angled drive before Purse's volley ricocheted off Grant in time added on.
Tudgay rifled the ball just over the crossbar shortly after the restart and just when clear-cut chances had dried up, Johnson had the Wednesday faithful in a crowd of 30,658 on their feet.
Tommy Spurr curled over a fine cross and Purse's headed clearance was spectacularly volleyed home by the Jamaica international from the edge of the area to stun Cardiff's travelling army in the 70th minute.
The goal rocked Cardiff back on their heels and when news filtered through that Preston had taken a 2-1 lead against QPR, hearts sank in the Cardiff end.
In truth the visitors appeared to have little to offer in response and although there were five minutes of time added on, Owls goalkeeper Grant had no real scares as his side finished the season on a high with an 11th home win of the season.