Barnsley 1-2 Cardiff
1800 Bluebirds made the long trip north to Yorkshire in a crowd of 12082 at Oakwell. City lined up with 4 new recruits in the starting line up and the bench made up entirely of new signings.
City lined up:
Alexander, Gilbert, McNaughton, Loovens, Purse, Ledley, Parry, McPhail, Scimeca, Thompson, Chopra
with Paul Parry playing on the right wing.
Ex-tyke Stephen McPhail was in for some early stick from the home crowd but looked composed in midfield putting in some good passes and showing excellent awareness as both teams made bright starts. Paul Parry was also looking good playing out of position and making a determined run in the opening minute playing in Chopra.
Chopra had the games first real opening on 8 mins from a cross from the right by Steve Thompson but Chopra steered his shot wide from 15 yards.
Barnsley's first chance came soon after when McPhail was robbed by Howard who set up former Swansea loan player Marc Richards. He hit the cross first time on the volley from 16 yards but the shot flew over. Togwell played a one-two form 20 yards and shot left footed which Alexander did well to parry and Scimeca was alert to close down the rebound.
Cardiff opened the scoring with an impressive team move on 19 minutes. Scimeca spread the ball wide to Chopra who moved to the by-line beefore cutting back a great pass to the oncoming JOE LEDLEY who hit his shot low into the corner giving Colgan no chance.
Just minutes later, City doubled their lead as McNaughton broke down the left flank and swung in a cross to the edge of the area where STEVE THOMPSON leant back and hit a beautifully timed volley into the bottom corner. The cross was just slightly behind Thompson but it was a great stike from the Scottish hitman. At this point the City faithful broke into a loud chorus of 'We are top of the league!'.
However Barnsley pulled a goal back on the half hour with a beauty of their own. Parry lost possession on halfway and there looked to be little danger when the ball reached Brian Howard 20 yards out but the midfielder controlled the ball on his chest before volleying un unstoppable left fott shot into the top corner which Alexander could only watch.
City still looked in control and Loovens broke and combined with McPhail to set up Thompson but his shot from 12yd was easily saved and Chopra got frewe of the defence but Ant Kay just recovered in time to prevent the Geordie finishing.
On the stroke of HT, Neil Alexander came rushing out to the left to prevent Devaney taking possession of a through ball, any mistiming would have cost a goal but Alex got there just in time to clear the ball for a throw.
HT Barnsley 1-2 Cardiff
Kerrea Gilbert picked up the only booking of the match shortly after the restarts after reacting aggressively following a tussle with Michael McIndoe where Barnsly striker Paul Hayes had appeared to step on Gilbert on the floor.
Ledley hit the post on 60 minutes before Riccy scimeca was brought down by Bobby Hassell after picking up a McPhail pass intended for Joe Ledley. Hassell panicked when Scimeca ran directly at him and the result was a definate penalty.
Captain Darren Purse strode confidently to take the penalty and hit it firmly to Colgan's left but the penalty hero from Barnsley's play-off win was up to the shot and managed to parry, Colgan was then on hand to save Purse's rebound shot and the chance to wrap up the game was gone.
Soon after Barnsley should have been level. Hayes robbed Gilbert on the right and crosses to the on-rushing Devaney who dived through the air and met with a firm header which somehow flew narrowly wide. Marc Richards had another great chance on 74 mins lifting his shot over the out-of-position Alexander but the shot hit the bar and was cleared by Gilbert.
Barsley has several more half chances to snatch a point while Cardiff didnt sit-back and Scimeca went close with a volley which was brilliantly saved and gathered by Colgan.
Purse limped off near the end to be replaced by Johnson and Campbell replaced Thompson for the last 25 minutes. Willo Flood replaced the battered Chopra for the last 10.
FT: Barnsley 1-2 Cardiff
Debuts for 7 players then in a good encounter ending in a satisfying win for Cardiff. Chopra played brilliantly and was unlucky not to score, Parry and Ledley were lively on the flanks and the defence was largely solid. All the players could take credit for their performance but the result was the key today and they did enough to just about sneak it.
WBA visit Fortress Ninian on Tuesday with the Koumas saga still rumbling on. The Baggies won 2-0 today with Hartson bagging both goals. WBA are one of the favourites for promotion and City will need another effective performance to get something from the game.