Cardiff 0-0 Charlton

By Dewi HughesBBC Wales Sport at Cardiff City Stadium
Celebrations as Cardiff win promotion

Cardiff City secured promotion to the Premier League with a goalless draw at home to Charlton Athletic.

A point was enough for Cardiff to end a 51-year absence from the top flight and it was earned with few alarms.

The visitors came closest as Johnnie Jackson's first-half free-kick hit the woodwork, while Ricardo Fuller was denied by a superb David Marshall save.

Full-time sparked a pitch invasion, as Cardiff joined Swansea as the second Welsh team in the Premier League.

In achieving promotion with three games to spare, the Bluebirds finally buried the ghosts of three successive play-off failures and they can now prepare for the financial rewards and publicity that come with a place in the top flight.external-link

The result came 53 years to the day since a home victory over Aston Villa secured Cardiff's previous promotion from the second tier.

The scene of that triumph - Ninian Park - is a short distance away from where the current side engraved their names in history.

Moving to the new Cardiff City Stadium was central to the Bluebirds' dream of joining the Premier League elite, and the arena created a fittingly exultant atmosphere to mark its fulfilment.

Three years ago, a few weeks after losing to Blackpool in the 2010 Championship play-off final, Cardiff avoided a winding-up order over an unpaid tax bill on their fifth visit in seven months to the High Court.

The debt was settled by a Malaysian consortium led by millionaire Vincent Tan, who has subsequently injected over £60m to allow manager Malky Mackay build a team capable of winning promotion.

And there is no doubt this is a team moulded by Mackay. Of the XI that started against Charlton, only two players - goalkeeper Marshall and right-back Kevin McNaughton - remain from the team that featured against Blackpool at Wembley.

Charlton arrived in Cardiff as the form team of the Championship, and went closest to opening the scoring in a dominant first half for the hosts.

Jackson ignored the chance to cross from a free-kick on the right flank and instead went for goal with a vicious curler, but the woodwork denied the Charlton captain.

After half an hour of probing, Cardiff wasted a great chance to take a huge step towards the Premier League.

A swift counter-attack set impressive South Korea Kim Bo-Kyung free down the right, but a heavy touch allowed Chris Solly to intercept an attempted cross.

Charlton goalkeeper Ben Hamer was finally tested just after the hour mark, keeping out Leon Barnett's long-range effort that took a deflection on its way.

But Ricardo Fuller's effort moments later, tipped away at full stretch by Marshall, reminded Cardiff the job was not yet done.

The stadium erupted as Craig Noone stooped to head home a Jordan Mutch cross, but an offside flag thwarted the celebrations.

After showing few signs of nerves, understandable anxiety crept into Cardiff's play in the closing 10 minutes but they held firm to hear a final whistle that signalled their entrance to the Premier League.


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