Wonderful Whittingham downs Utd
Peter Whittingham scored a hat-trick as Cardiff beat Sheffield United 4-3 at Bramall Lane.
Last Updated: 24/10/09 5:58pm
Cardiff came out on top in a seven-goal thriller with Sheffield United in the Championship as Peter Whittingham scored a hat-trick at Bramall Lane.
Jay Bothroyd had put the Bluebirds in front on 41 minutes, but Darius Henderson equalised just two minutes later.
Whittingham regained the lead for Cardiff from the penalty spot on 45 minutes, but there was still time for Henderson to again restore parity.
Whittingham, though, then took charge in the second half, scoring twice, while James Harper could only net late on for the Blades.
The result means United have now lost three successive league games for the first time since April 2007, while their unbeaten home record has also come to an end.
Kevin Blackwell made four changes to the United side that lost 3-0 at Blackpool in midweek.
Ian Bennett replaced Mark Bunn in goal and there were also recalls for Ched Evans, Glen Little and Keith Treacy.
Cardiff boss Dave Jones opted to name an unchanged starting XI after his side's 2-0 victory over Coventry on Tuesday.
The Bluebirds came close in the first minute. Adam Matthews' lofted free-kick was headed out to Anthony Gerrard but the centre-half drilled his shot wide from the edge of the area.
United had an opportunity of their own soon after, but Gerrard was on hand to clear Chris Morgan's goal-bound strike after goalkeeper David Marshall had flapped at Kyle Walker's cross.
Cardiff thought they had taken the lead in the 18th minute when Bothroyd headed home another Matthews free-kick but the linesman's flag had already gone up for offside.
Following a scrappy passage of play the game then exploded into life with a spell of four goals in six minutes at the end of the opening period.
Cardiff went in front following a farcical mix-up in the United defence. Bothroyd had the simple task of beating Ian Bennett from four yards after Morgan's clearance had struck Harper on the backside.
There was initial confusion as the linesman flagged for offside against Bothroyd but referee Trevor Kettle correctly awarded the goal as the ball had reached the Cardiff striker via an opposition player.
United levelled almost immediately as Glen Little's cross hit Mark Hudson and fell invitingly for Henderson to slot home. But the visitors regained the lead in the 45th minute, Whittingham making no mistake from the penalty spot after Henderson had hauled down Bothroyd.
Remarkably, United equalised again in the subsequent three minutes of stoppage time. Marshall made a fine initial save to keep out Ched Evans' close-range header but he was powerless to prevent Henderson heading home the rebound.
Matt Kilgallon volleyed over for the Blades nine minutes after the interval following Henderson's intelligent knock-down.
But Cardiff were back in front for a third time on the hour as Matthews' long throw was flicked into the path of Whittingham who thumped home from close range.
United boss Blackwell brought on new signing Henri Camara as his side looked to rescue at least a point.
But although Matthew Kilgallon and Keith Treacy had chances to equalise the Bluebirds remained a constant threat on the break and added a sensational fourth late on when Whittingham rounded off a slick passing move.
Harper did stab home an injury-time consolation for the Blades before Stephen Quinn's late strike was chalked off to the disappointment of the disgruntled home support.