Blackpool 1-2 Cardiff
Cardiff City opened a 10-point lead at the top of the Championship with a hard-earned win over managerless Blackpool at Bloomfield Road.
Tommy Smith secured victory for the Bluebirds with a fiercely struck volley in the 64th minute.
Cardiff had opened the scoring through Kim Bo-Kyung after a scoreless first half, Gary Taylor-Fletcher equalising with a diving header on the hour.
It was the fourth consecutive away win for Malky Mackay's team.
Blackpool could be forgiven a sense of deja vu as this was a third consecutive 2-1 defeat, and they are now without a victory since their 2-0 win over Blackburn on 15 December.
But Cardiff City will fly off for warm weather training in Dubai on Sunday in good spirits with a comfortable cushion over Leicester City, Friday night victors over Middlesbrough.
Blackpool caretaker Steve Thompson made four changes, Bob Harris, Craig Cathcart, Ludovic Sylvestre and Tiago Gomes coming in for Stephen Crainey, Alex Baptiste, Neal Eardley and Nathan Ecclestone, while Mackay was forced to leave out Craig Bellamy with a stomach bug and defender Ben Turner because of a hamstring strain.
The Bluebirds had an early penalty appeal turned down by referee Michael Naylor when Joe Mason went down under a challenge from Kirk Broadfoot but it was Blackpool who created the first clear-cut chance.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher put Thomas Ince clear, but his toe-poke was parried by David Marshall, who gathered Taylor-Fletcher's weak follow-up.
Both sides were battling with an uneven, sandy surface, with Blackpool posing problems for the leaders as Taylor-Fletcher and Nathan Delfouneso probed effectively.
And the home team had a good penalty shout when Taylor-Fletcher's cross struck Andrew Taylor on the elbow, but again Mr Naylor waved play on.
Cardiff's best chance of the half came just before the interval when Tommy Smith's close-range shot was turned over by Matt Gilks in the Blackpool goal but the Welsh club finally took the lead in the 54th minute.
Smith's left-wing cross was partially cleared before Arun Gunnarsson's shot struck a post, and Kim followed up to blast the ball past Gilks.
Blackpool were level on the hour, Gomes sending a teasing cross into the area where Taylor-Fletcher barged past Andrew Taylor to score with a diving header.
But within four minutes City were ahead again. Kim led a counter-attack after a Blackpool corner, freeing Taylor, who lost the ball in the Blackpool area.
Again it was only partially cleared and met on the volley by Smith, whose shot flew into the net after taking a deflection off Craig Cathcart's head.
It was Smith's first goal for the club in an injury-troubled season.
Ince continued to threaten for the hosts, twice forcing Marshall into saves with long-range shots. But Cardiff kept the Tangerines at arm's length in the the closing stages to cement their position at the top of the table.
VIEWS FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Cardiff City manager Malky MacKay told BBC Radio Wales: "I'm absolutely delighted, it's a tough place to come, it's never been easy and I thought we were excellent tonight.
"It's out fourth away win in a row and it shows the steeliness and determination of our team. I'm delighted for everyone, it's a very well earned three points.
"We just tactically changed slightly in the second half, we just went on to the front foot a little bit more in terms of winning first and second balls because I knew if we did we could certainly break on the counter and hurt them."
- 01 Gilks
- 17 Basham
- 20 Cathcart
- 33 Harris
- 42 Broadfoot
- 08 Gomes (M Phillips - 61' )
- 14 Sylvestre
- 18 Osbourne (Angel - 76' )
- 11 Ince
- 12 Taylor-Fletcher
- 40 Delfouneso
- 21 Halstead
- 22 Eastham
- 04 Robertson
- 07 M Phillips
- 31 Angel
- 37 Caton
- 41 Eccleston
- 01 Marshall
- 02 McNaughton
- 03 Taylor
- 05 Hudson (Nugent - 48' )
- 12 Connolly
- 07 Whittingham Booked
- 11 Conway
- 13 Kim Bo-Kyung (Cowie - 76' )
- 17 Gunnarsson Booked
- 14 Smith (Helguson - 65' Booked )
- 20 Mason
- 32 Lewis
- 31 Nugent
- 08 Cowie
- 16 Noone
- 18 Mutch
- 15 Gestede
- 22 Helguson
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee blows for the end of the match.90:00 +3:03
Gary Taylor-Fletcher fouled by Matthew Connolly, the ref awards a free kick. Ludovic Sylvestre takes the free kick.90:00 +2:15 Booking
Booking Heidar Helguson is shown a yellow card.90:00 +0:35
Robert Harris delivers the ball, Ben Nugent manages to make a clearance.88:48
Robert Harris has a direct shot on goal from the free kick, save by David Marshall.88:48 Booking
Booking Peter Whittingham goes into the referee's book.88:42
Thomas Ince fouled by Peter Whittingham, the ref awards a free kick.87:04
Craig Cathcart concedes a free kick for a foul on Heidar Helguson. Peter Whittingham takes the direct free kick.86:43
A cross is delivered by Matt Phillips, blocked by Peter Whittingham.84:48
Foul by Gary Taylor-Fletcher on Matthew Connolly, free kick awarded. David Marshall takes the direct free kick.84:19
Peter Whittingham produces a cross, Chris Basham makes a clearance.82:36
Gary Taylor-Fletcher sends in a cross, Matt Phillips takes a shot. Comfortable save by David Marshall.81:08
Thomas Ince takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.78:37
Craig Cathcart gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Aron Gunnarsson. Craig Conway produces a strike on goal direct from the free kick.78:19
Andrew Taylor sends in a cross, clearance by Craig Cathcart.77:25
Drilled left-footed shot by Thomas Ince. Comfortable save by David Marshall.76:23
The referee blows for offside. Free kick taken by Kirk Broadfoot.75:48 Substitution
Substitution Angel Martinez replaces Isaiah Osbourne.75:20 Substitution
Substitution Don Cowie replaces Bo-Kyung Kim.75:03
Matt Phillips takes a shot. Ben Nugent gets a block in.
Corner taken left-footed by Thomas Ince from the right by-line, save by David Marshall.70:03
Ludovic Sylvestre produces a right-footed shot from outside the penalty box and misses left.68:41
The ball is delivered by Chris Basham, save by David Marshall.67:55
Unfair challenge on Kirk Broadfoot by Heidar Helguson results in a free kick. Matt Gilks takes the free kick.67:27
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Joe Mason by Craig Cathcart. Free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.66:15
Craig Conway crosses the ball.65:58
Free kick awarded for a foul by Thomas Ince on Bo-Kyung Kim. Direct free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.64:35 Substitution
Substitution Tommy Smith leaves the field to be replaced by Heidar Helguson.63:14 Goal scored
Goal! - Tommy Smith - Blackpool 1 - 2 Cardiff A goal is scored by Tommy Smith from just outside the area to the top right corner of the goal. Blackpool 1-2 Cardiff.62:54
Andrew Taylor crosses the ball.62:17
Corner taken right-footed by Ludovic Sylvestre from the left by-line to the near post, Peter Whittingham makes a clearance.61:04
A cross is delivered by Andrew Taylor, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Joe Mason misses to the right of the target.60:20 Substitution
Substitution Matt Phillips is brought on as a substitute for Tiago Gomes.59:41
Assist by Tiago Gomes.59:41 Goal scored
Goal! - Gary Taylor-Fletcher - Blackpool 1 - 1 Cardiff Gary Taylor-Fletcher finds the back of the net with a headed goal from close range. Blackpool 1-1 Cardiff.59:30
A cross is delivered by Tiago Gomes,58:38
The ball is sent over by Tommy Smith.57:58
Centre by Nathan Delfouneso, clearance by Matthew Connolly.57:29
Robert Harris sends in a cross, Matthew Connolly manages to make a clearance.55:38
Tiago Gomes produces a cross, clearance by Kevin McNaughton.54:52
Craig Conway takes a shot. Comfortable save by Matt Gilks.53:48
Assist by Aron Gunnarsson.53:48 Goal scored
Goal! - Bo-Kyung Kim - Blackpool 0 - 1 Cardiff A goal is scored by Bo-Kyung Kim from close in low into the middle of the goal. Blackpool 0-1 Cardiff.53:30
Effort from just inside the box by Aron Gunnarsson strikes the post.53:16
The ball is crossed by Tommy Smith.52:04
Gary Taylor-Fletcher has an effort at goal from just inside the box that misses to the right of the goal.51:22
Matt Gilks takes the free kick.51:22 Booking
Booking Aron Gunnarsson goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.51:10
Aron Gunnarsson concedes a free kick for a foul on Robert Harris.51:00
Craig Conway delivers the ball, Craig Cathcart makes a clearance.48:17
Nathan Delfouneso fouled by Kevin McNaughton, the ref awards a free kick. Matt Gilks restarts play with the free kick.48:04
A cross is delivered by Craig Conway, Chris Basham manages to make a clearance.47:08 Substitution
Substitution (Cardiff) makes a substitution, with Ben Nugent coming on for Mark Hudson.45:43
Craig Conway sends in a cross, Robert Harris gets a block in.45:01
The second half begins.45:00 +3:53 Half time
Half Time The referee calls an end to the first half.45:00 +3:23
Tommy Smith takes a shot. Save by Matt Gilks.45:00 +3:09
Craig Conway crosses the ball, blocked by Robert Harris.45:00 +2:50
Kevin McNaughton delivers the ball.45:00 +2:42
Kevin McNaughton produces a cross.45:00 +1:40
Tommy Smith fouled by Isaiah Osbourne, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Andrew Taylor.45:00 +0:27
The official flags Joe Mason offside. Craig Cathcart takes the free kick.43:04
Joe Mason has an effort at goal from 18 yards. Blocked by Robert Harris.42:15
Effort on goal by Robert Harris from just inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.40:55
Shot by Thomas Ince from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.39:39
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Craig Conway.39:27
Craig Conway delivers the ball, clearance by Chris Basham.38:29
The ball is sent over by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, David Marshall makes a comfortable save.35:50
Corner taken by Tiago Gomes, save by David Marshall.35:33
Nathan Delfouneso takes a shot. Blocked by Mark Hudson.34:32
Thomas Ince is flagged offside by the assistant referee. David Marshall takes the free kick.33:03
Thomas Ince takes a inswinging corner to the near post, Peter Whittingham manages to make a clearance.32:48
The ball is crossed by Gary Taylor-Fletcher, blocked by Andrew Taylor.31:13
Tiago Gomes takes a shot. Comfortable save by David Marshall.30:23
The ball is crossed by Robert Harris, Mark Hudson manages to make a clearance.28:58
Peter Whittingham challenges Ludovic Sylvestre unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Craig Cathcart.28:06
Robert Harris delivers the ball.25:01
Tiago Gomes challenges Craig Conway unfairly and gives away a free kick. Kevin McNaughton takes the direct free kick.24:38
The ball is sent over by Robert Harris, Aron Gunnarsson manages to make a clearance.22:12
Bo-Kyung Kim has an effort at goal from deep inside the area missing to the left of the target.19:01
Matthew Connolly challenges Gary Taylor-Fletcher unfairly and gives away a free kick. Robert Harris takes the free kick.18:41
Tiago Gomes takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.18:24
Thomas Ince takes a shot. David Marshall makes a save.17:48
Bo-Kyung Kim delivers the ball, Kirk Broadfoot manages to make a clearance.14:20
Isaiah Osbourne challenges Aron Gunnarsson unfairly and gives away a free kick. Peter Whittingham fires a strike on goal direct from the free kick, save made by Matt Gilks.13:53
Aron Gunnarsson takes a shot. Matt Gilks makes a save.11:53
Thomas Ince fouled by Bo-Kyung Kim, the ref awards a free kick. Thomas Ince restarts play with the free kick.11:29
Foul by Joe Mason on Chris Basham, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Craig Cathcart.9:32
Free kick awarded for a foul by Bo-Kyung Kim on Ludovic Sylvestre. Kirk Broadfoot restarts play with the free kick.8:47
Corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Gary Taylor-Fletcher.8:20
The offside flag is raised against Joe Mason. Chris Basham takes the free kick.5:37
Tommy Smith has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.3:09
Thomas Ince sends in a cross, clearance by Aron Gunnarsson.0:58
The ball is swung over by Andrew Taylor, Tiago Gomes manages to make a clearance.0:00
The game kicks-off.
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