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.

Interview: Malky Mackay

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."

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