Vital Report: Cardiff 1 Stoke 1
Three points was needed really if Cardiff are going to stay in the Premier League but we had to be content with one against Stoke on Saturday.
Positively we showed resolve to fight back and earn a point against Stoke in the 1-1 draw, we'll know at the end of the season if this proves to be a vital or fruitless point but at this stage it's got to be viewed as a point gained from a losing position but overall from a game at the Cardiff City Stadium it's two points dropped.
Speaking of positively, this is how Cardiff started the game with us unchanged.
Mats Moeller Daehli had an early effort that was deflected wide before Jordan Mutch, much of which our survival chances will rest upon you'd feel, made Asmir Begovic produce his first save.
Both continued to play a part in this bright start.
Another deflection, this time from a Fraizer Campbell effort, took one of our attempts over the Stoke bar with David Marshall then forced into action as one of Stoke's rare forays forward gave Peter Odemwingie a chance against his old side.
In Stoke's defence they broke forward very nicely, and very quickly with Stephen Ireland leading that charge, but our goalkeeper did what he's done so often this season when he saved us.
With Daehli continuing to impress, the lad looks a good signing, we we're denied by the games next great save. A freekick on the edge of the Stoke penalty area gave Peter Whittingham the chance. He stepped up and made Begovic turn his effort wide with the help of the post.
Deep into first half injury time though we were stunned.
Controversially Howard Webb adjudged that Kim Bo-Kyung fouled Odemwingie in the penalty area and awarded a penalty. Marko Arnautovic stepped up and beat Marshall to put Stoke, undeservedly, ahead at half time.
The tone for the second half, or early period of it anyway, was set with Odemwingie recklessly fouling Juan Cala to earn a yellow card before another foul in the area gave us a chance to draw level soon after the break.
Steven N'Zonzi fouled Campbell. Whittingham stepped up, marking his return to favour, with a well dispatched penalty (our first of the Premier League season) to draw us level
Cue the Cardiff pressure.
Campbell was holding up play well, and drawing a lot of fans, but a complete air shot was a letdown when he should have done better.
As the pressure grew Steven Caulker threatened another goal but his effort was well saved by Begovic, it came back to the captain who then hit the post before coming out to Cala and he headed home but the celebrations were cut short with him ruled offside.
Stoke were content to contain the threat, a point was good enough for them with Premier League safety long since secured. Little attacking intent was on their mind.
Odemwingie had started for Stoke but Kenwyne Jones had to wait until 10 minutes from fulltime to get his chance against his former side, at the time I felt that we'd got the better end of the deal but now I'm not so sure.
Cardiff looked the more likely to win, and we showed more intent for most of the second half but both Odemwingie and Oussama Assaidi called Marshall into saves before the end. The final one deep into injury time, which was brilliant yet again with Jonathan Walters striking the bar with virtually the last kick.
Two points from safety with three games to play means we can stay up.
I'd dare say that we need at least seven points from these games and with Chelsea the final one of the season how much they're in contention for the title could impact on the chances we have? At the moment a shock defeat on Saturday to relegation rivals Sunderland looks to have ended those chances.
Onwards, and hopefully, upwards as we now sit just inside the relegation zone what a huge game it is against Sunderland next weekend.
Win FREE pizza with Vital Football!
Select your team and get 50% off if they score twice.