Saints boost survival hopes
Southampton secured a vital win in their battle for Championship survival after beating Cardiff 1-0.
Last Updated: 28/02/09 5:35pm
Southampton secured a vital win in their battle for Championship survival as Cardiff City boss Dave Jones endured an unhappy return to his former club.
David McGoldrick scored the only goal of the game at St Mary's as he converted an 11th minute penalty after Mark Kennedy had been penalised for handball.
Cardiff, who had not lost in their previous 13 league games, struggled to find their best form as Saints held on for a win which still leaves them in the relegation zone.
Saints had started the match brightly with Andrew Surman and Marek Saganowski probing but failing to breach the Bluebirds defence.
McGoldrick's spot-kick on 11 minutes then sparked City into life and Roger Johnson had a shot well blocked by Rudi Skacel soon afterwards.
The South Coast club were next to threaten in the 25th minute when Surman crossed for Saganowski but the Pole headed wide from a good position in the centre of the penalty area.
McGoldrick shot off target soon afterwards before Johnson tried his luck for the Welshmen, Kelvin Davis holding comfortably.
The hosts continued to belie their lowly league position and Dimi Konstantopoulos had to be alert to save from Jason Euell's 20-yarder on the half-hour.
Saints continued to have the better of the match as the first half drew to a close but could not translate their dominance into clear-cut chances.
Cardiff boss Jones introduced former Arsenal midfielder Quincy Owusu-Abeyie for Peter Whittingham at the break in an attempt to spark his promotion hopefuls into life.
And his half-time reshuffle appeared to be having an effect with Ross McCormack firing a free-kick wide before Gabor Gyepes headed wide of the target after Euell's block.
Just after the hour mark Saganowski came agonisingly close to converting Euell's cross but could not quite make contact, before the Pole shot over when he should have hit the target at least.
Saganowski might have done more soon afterwards but he scuffed wide after Skacel's good work.
With the match moving into the last five minutes Konstantopoulos did well to smother McCormack's prod and City then had loud claims for a penalty turned down after appealing for handball against Chris Perry.
Eddie Johnson spurned Cardiff's final chance in the third minute of stoppage-time when he fired over the bar from Chris Burke's cross.