Cardiff City struck three times in six first-half minutes against Peterborough to climb back into third place in the Championship.
After a dour opening half-hour, Peter Whittingham struck directly from a corner to embarrass goalkeeper Joe Lewis and settle his side's nerves.
After Rudy Gestede headed in the second, Haris Vuckic's 39th-minute goal settled the contest.
The visitors offered little threat until Paul Taylor's late consolation.
In the process, Malky Mackay's side avoided a third successive defeat.
Goalkepper David Marshall blocked Grant McCann's free-kick early on as the Bluebirds struggled, Posh striker Taylor also being thwarted by Anthony Gerrard.
Lee Frecklington then shot wide before Cardiff's Aron Gunnarsson's volley rose over over the bar.
Whittingham then opened the scoring in unusual fashion after 34 minutes, whipping in a corner that evaded the attention both of his team-mates and the visiting defence.
Four minutes later, from another corner, this time from Don Cowie, Gestede headed home from close range.
And the Bluebirds' early worries had already deserted them by the time Ben Turner found on-loan midfielder Vuckic, who calmly guided his shot past Lewis.
Grant McCann came close to striking back with a long-range free kick and Gerrard was again on hand to deny Taylor.
Gestede saw several attempts fail at the other end, both Lewis and the woodwork stopping him claiming a second, while Miller and Vuckic also threatened.
Consolation came for Posh when Lee Tomlin set up Taylor in extra time.
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay: "We were below par in the last two games, but it had zero to do with being in the [Carling] Cup final.
"It was good to get back to winning ways and the way we went about our business.
"We looked more like the team that we've been since the start of the season. We got after our opponents and won a lot of second balls.
"I'm delighted with the result and performance and the amount of chances we created.
"It's tight at the top, other results have gone our way and we are back in the mix."
Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson: "We were in complete control of the game but it was a mad six minutes.
"We were 3-0 down and it was hard to take.
"Joe [Lewis] made a mistake for the first, we've lost a man for the second and the third is an appalling goal to concede.
"Cardiff is a difficult place to come to, but they showed us a lot of respect by matching us up with a diamond formation.
"But we didn't have the right concentration levels which top players have.
"The second half looked like it was a comfortable night for Cardiff but it's easy to play well when you are three up.
"At 0-0 it's a different game. We have to learn from it quickly."
- 01 Marshall
- 02 McNaughton
- 03 Taylor
- 06 Gerrard
- 25 Turner
- 07 Whittingham
- 08 Cowie (Conway - 82' )
- 17 Gunnarsson (Kiss - 72' )
- 19 Vuckic (Mason - 77' Booked )
- 09 Miller
- 15 Gestede
- 29 Parish
- 04 Kiss
- 11 Conway
- 23 Blake
- 20 Mason
- 01 Lewis
- 03 Briggs Booked
- 04 Bennett
- 05 Zakuani (Little - 45' )
- 27 Alcock
- 11 McCann
- 14 Rowe
- 23 Frecklington
- 09 Ball (Sinclair - 52' )
- 10 Boyd (Tomlin - 52' )
- 26 Taylor
- 28 Jones
- 02 Little
- 16 Tunnicliffe
- 08 Tomlin
- 12 Sinclair
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The referee signals the end of the game.90:00 +4:02
Kenny Miller decides to take the corner short.90:00 +2:16
The assistant referee flags for offside against Rudy Gestede. Free kick taken by Joe Lewis.90:00 +1:42
Joe Mason takes a shot. Clearance made by Ryan Bennett.90:00 +0:56
Assist by Lee Tomlin.90:00 +0:56 Goal scored
Goal! - Paul Taylor - Cardiff 3 - 1 Peterboro Paul Taylor finds the net with a goal from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Cardiff 3-1 Peterborough.89:32
Filip Kiss gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lee Frecklington. Indirect free kick taken by Lee Tomlin.89:10
Filip Kiss takes a shot. Save by Joe Lewis.88:53
The referee blows for offside. David Marshall takes the free kick.88:34
Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Filip Kiss misses to the right of the target.87:25
Effort from the edge of the penalty box by Grant McCann goes wide of the right-hand upright.86:45
Grant McCann has an effort at goal from outside the box which misses left.85:28
Kenny Miller takes a shot. Save by Joe Lewis. Corner taken by Peter Whittingham, clearance by Lee Frecklington.84:57
Effort from the edge of the area by Peter Whittingham goes wide of the left-hand post.82:02
Unfair challenge on Craig Conway by Paul Taylor results in a free kick. Peter Whittingham takes the indirect free kick.80:49 Substitution
Substitution Craig Conway comes on in place of Don Cowie.80:49
Lee Tomlin takes a shot. Blocked by Ben Turner. The referee blows for offside. Indirect free kick taken by David Marshall.77:57 Booking
Booking Joe Mason goes into the book.77:45
Unfair challenge on Grant McCann by Joe Mason results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Ryan Bennett.76:38 Substitution
Substitution Joe Mason is brought on as a substitute for Haris Vuckic.
Peter Whittingham takes a shot. Save by Joe Lewis. Effort on goal by Filip Kiss from inside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the bar.72:36
Grant McCann gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Filip Kiss. Free kick taken by Don Cowie.71:50 Substitution
Substitution Filip Kiss on for Aron Gunnarsson.71:30
Lee Tomlin takes a shot. Kevin McNaughton gets a block in.68:07
Peter Whittingham fouled by Emile Sinclair, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Don Cowie. Peter Whittingham takes a shot. Save by Joe Lewis. Corner taken by Don Cowie, Rudy Gestede takes a shot. Rudy Gestede produces a right-footed shot from inside the area that clears the bar.67:07
Rudy Gestede takes a shot. Save made by Joe Lewis. Short corner worked by Peter Whittingham.65:32
Grant McCann produces a left-footed shot from outside the penalty area and misses left.64:40
Lee Tomlin has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the right-hand post.63:56
Don Cowie challenges Mark Little unfairly and gives away a free kick. Lee Frecklington takes the free kick.62:37
Kenny Miller produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the target.61:29
Effort from the edge of the area by Haris Vuckic goes wide of the right-hand post.58:50
Rudy Gestede produces a header from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the target.55:18
Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham, save made by Joe Lewis.54:42
The assistant referee signals for offside against Emile Sinclair. David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.52:37
Inswinging corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line.51:23 Substitution
Substitution (Peterborough) makes a substitution, with Emile Sinclair coming on for David Ball.51:23 Substitution
Substitution George Boyd leaves the field to be replaced by Lee Tomlin.49:59
Peter Whittingham is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Grant McCann.48:25
Paul Taylor fouled by Kevin McNaughton, the ref awards a free kick. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Grant McCann.47:09
Paul Taylor takes a shot. Anthony Gerrard gets a block in.45:01
The referee starts the second half.45:00 +3:01 Half time
Half Time The half-time whistle blows.45:00 +1:08
Corner taken left-footed by Grant McCann from the left by-line, clearance made by Rudy Gestede.44:48 Substitution
Substitution Mark Little replaces Gabriel Zakuani.43:21
Effort from deep inside the area by Aron Gunnarsson clears the bar.39:17
Ben Turner provided the assist for the goal.39:17 Goal scored
Goal! - Haris Vuckic - Cardiff 3 - 0 Peterboro Haris Vuckic finds the back of the net with a goal from close range to the bottom right corner of the goal. Cardiff 3-0 Peterborough.37:27
Don Cowie provided the assist for the goal.37:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Rudy Gestede - Cardiff 2 - 0 Peterboro Goal scored by Rudy Gestede from inside the six-yard box high into the middle of the goal. Cardiff 2-0 Peterborough.36:44
Kenny Miller takes a shot. Clearance by Matthew Briggs. Don Cowie takes the inswinging corner,36:05
Foul by Aron Gunnarsson on Matthew Briggs, free kick awarded. Matthew Briggs restarts play with the free kick.33:32 Goal scored
Goal! - Peter Whittingham - Cardiff 1 - 0 Peterboro Peter Whittingham fires in a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Cardiff 1-0 Peterborough.32:33
Corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham,29:49
Shot from outside the box by Kevin McNaughton misses to the left of the goal.28:20
Matthew Briggs takes a shot. Blocked by Kevin McNaughton.26:58
Volleyed right-footed shot by Aron Gunnarsson. Save made by Joe Lewis.26:18
Lee Frecklington takes a shot. Save made by David Marshall.25:16
Craig Alcock concedes a free kick for a foul on Don Cowie. Peter Whittingham takes the free kick, Header on goal by Anthony Gerrard from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.24:37
Effort on goal by David Ball from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.22:18 Booking
Booking Caution for Matthew Briggs.22:08
Aron Gunnarsson fouled by Matthew Briggs, the ref awards a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.21:27
Kenny Miller has an effort at goal from outside the area missing to the wide right of the target.20:13
Corner taken by Don Cowie, clearance by George Boyd.19:02
Gabriel Zakuani concedes a free kick for a foul on Kenny Miller. Free kick crossed by Peter Whittingham, clearance by Tommy Rowe.16:48
Grant McCann fouled by Aron Gunnarsson, the ref awards a free kick. Shot on goal comes in from Grant McCann from the free kick, Joe Lewis makes a save. Corner taken left-footed by Grant McCann, Ben Turner manages to make a clearance. Matthew Briggs has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area which goes wide right of the goal.13:24
Foul by Matthew Briggs on Aron Gunnarsson, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by David Marshall.11:25
Free kick awarded for a foul by Haris Vuckic on Lee Frecklington. Matthew Briggs restarts play with the free kick.10:19
Shot by Peter Whittingham missed to the right of the target.6:35
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Peter Whittingham by Lee Frecklington. Free kick crossed left-footed by Peter Whittingham, clearance by Gabriel Zakuani.5:56
Craig Alcock concedes a free kick for a foul on Rudy Gestede. Indirect free kick taken by David Marshall.4:00
Effort on goal by Aron Gunnarsson from just inside the area clears the crossbar.2:34
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Paul Taylor, Effort from the edge of the area by Lee Frecklington goes wide of the right-hand post.1:44
Paul Taylor takes a shot. Blocked by Anthony Gerrard.0:57
Anthony Gerrard fouled by Paul Taylor, the ref awards a free kick. Anthony Gerrard restarts play with the free kick.0:33
Peter Whittingham concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Briggs. Matthew Briggs takes the indirect free kick.0:00
The match has kicked off.
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