Derby 3-1 Cardiff (match report)
Cardiff City came away empty handed from Pride Park despite a gutsy perfomance from the Bluebirds.
Derby opened the scoring in controversial fashion after half an hour. Highly rated midfielder Giles Barnes met a Derby corner and his header his City striker Steve Thompson, seemingly on the chest, but referee Martin Atkinson awarded the penalty. The referee made a series of questionable first half decisions and appeared to guess on occasions.
It took the Bluebirds just 4 minutes to level when a horrendous missed clearance from McEveley allowed PAUL PARRY to run clear and the winger beat former Cardiff 'keeper Stephen Bywater with finesse to level the scores.
Cardiff continues to press with Michael Chopra hitting the bar for the visitors. The division's top scorer was then forced off with a hamstring injury and Cardiff lost some of their attacking threat.
Cardiff probably had the better of the first half, but were hit by a sucker punch early in the second as Barnes rounded Kevin McNaughton and finished past Alexander. In truth, Cardiff rarely threatened despite having ample possession and the game was sealed by former Cardiff target Steve Howard. The 3rd goal also had a touch of forune about it as the big striker seemed to control with his hand before shooting.
The injury to Chopra is a worrying one, especially as City look lost without him.