Cardiff 1-0 Hull: Sol Bamba header helps Bluebirds maintain promotion push
By Dan Long
Last Updated: 16/12/17 8:36pm
Sol Bamba’s second-half header ensured Cardiff kept up the pressure on league leaders Wolves with a 1-0 win over Hull in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday evening.
Though neither side imposed themselves on the game early on, it was Hull who had the game's first chances, firstly when Neil Etheridge spilled Kamil Grosicki's cross, before Nouha Dicko hit the post from close range.
But Neil Warnock's men burst out of the traps in the second half and got themselves in front when Bamba powered a header across Allan McGregor after Anthony Pilkington had flicked Lee Tomlin's cross to the far post (57).
Hull's threat petered out thereafter, meaning the goal proved to be the winner, leaving Cardiff just four points behind Wolves, while Hull suffered their first defeat under Nigel Adkins and remain in the relegation mix in 19th.
Cardiff: Etheridge (6), Peltier (6), Bamba (8), Manga (6), Bennett (6), Damour (6), Ralls (6), Tomlin (7), Hoilett (7), Mendez-Laing (6), Pilkington (6)
Subs: Bogle (4), Paterson (N/A), Halford (N/A)
Hull: McGregor (6), Aina (6), Tomori (5), Dawson (7), Mazuch (5), Hector (6), Larsson (6), Irvine (6), Toral (5), Grosicki (6), Dicko (5)
Subs: Bowen (4), Diomande (4)
Man of the match: Sol Bamba
With closest rivals Wolves and Bristol City having already registered wins this weekend, the pressure was on the Bluebirds, particularly after their 2-2 against Reading on Monday evening.
They went behind first that evening, and went close to repeating that on 27 minutes when Dicko turned Bamba and watched as his shot cannoned off the base of Neil Etheridge's near post.
Tomlin created two decent openings as the Bluebirds grew into the game; first smashing a volley over the bar, before he stung the palms of McGregor with a low drive moments before the break.
Both sides make three changes for this evening's game: Lee Peltier, Lee Tomlin and Anthony Pilkington took the places of Sean Morrison, Callum Paterson and Omar Bogle for the hosts.
Nigel Adkins brought in Michael Hector, Jon Toral and Nouha Dicko to replace Max Clark, David Meyler and Fraizer Campbell.
Four minutes into the second half, Junior Hoilett missed a golden chance to break the deadlock when he headed wide Bamba's knockdown wide from a yard out, but eight minutes later they finally made their dominance count.
Pilkington's smart flick from Tomlin's whipped cross into the area took the ball to the far post where Bamba failed to break stride before nodding down and past McGregor, though replays suggest there was a hint of offside in the build-up.
Hull boss Adkins threw on top scorer Jarrod Bowen in a bid to force an equaliser, but the sturdy Bluebirds' backline stood firm and held to what could be an important three points in their promotion push.
Man of the match - Sol Bamba
After a slightly shaky start, much like Cardiff as a whole Bamba grew into the game and proved to be the match-winner. A well-taken goal from the rock at the heart of the Bluebirds' defence.
Neil Warnock: "I think it was as good a three points as we'll ever get in the circumstances. I just think the togetherness we've got - we've got so many problems. I take my hat off to Pilkington, he's not played all season, [it was] Tomlin's first start as well so I'm really pleased they did well.
"I thought we deserved it, but sometimes when you are up there, you just have to get your wins - it doesn't matter how you do it."
Nigel Adkins: "Where we are at this time in the division, we've come up against a very good Cardiff City side. I thought we started the game very well but they get that ball forward and you've got to play against it.
"Yes I would've liked to get the ball up front better, yes I'd like us to have passed the ball about, but first and foremost, I've got to build confidence in a group of players which is going to be hard.
"We've lost the game - arguably an offisde decision - my personal opinion is that it was offside as his feet are in an offside position, I think that's what the linesmen go on. At the end of the day it's given so you have to accept it. You don't have to like it, but that's what it is."
Next Saturday the Bluebirds travel north to the Macron Stadium to take on Bolton Wanderers, with Hull boss Nigel Adkins facing a tricky tie against Leeds at Elland Road in his third game in charge.