Mark Hudson's wonder goal sealed victory for Cardiff City against visiting Derby County and strengthened their grip on the play-offs.

The defender was a good 10 yards inside his own half when he unleashed a huge kick that caught out Frank Fielding as the ball sailed over the keeper's head.

Joe Mason had given Cardiff the lead when he reacted quickest to drive home after Kenny Miller had hit the post.

The loss was harsh on Derby, who looked the better side for long periods.

A Cardiff victory on Tuesday night was also the tribute that had been demanded in memory of revered former manager Eddie May , who died earlier this week.

Cardiff boss hails 'fantastic' goal

But while the past was honoured, for the immediate future the win means that Malky Mackay's side now sit four points clear of seventh-placed Middlesbrough, who were held to a goalless draw by relegated Doncaster on Tuesday night, with two games remaining.

Victory over Leeds United at home on Saturday will secure Cardiff's place in the play-offs for the third consecutive season.

After firing wide from 20 yards, Miller finally tested Fielding, who tipped the former Derby striker's 18-yard shot round the post.

Derby thought they had opened the scoring after 14 minutes when the recalled Nathan Tyson converted a flick-on from Theo Robinson, but the former Nottingham Forest forward was deemed to be in an offside position.

The game started to open up, with Fielding having to turn away an Aron Gunnarsson strike from distance while Paul Green, earlier thwarted by a solid defensive block by Andrew Taylor, brought the best out of home number one David Marshall.

But it was Cardiff who broke the deadlock in the 24th-minute through Mason, who converted after Miller's strike cannoned back off the post.

The visitors refused to lie down and continued to show their attacking intent, but Jeff Hendrick and Tom Naylor failed to hit the target with long-range efforts.

Defender Jake Buxton called Marshall into action just before half-time with a header from Jamie Ward's corner as Derby finished strongly.

Cardiff doubled their advantage in emphatic fashion after 63 minutes when Hudson collected a poor Fielding kick and, after trying his luck from inside his own half, saw his effort evade the backtracking Derby keeper and nestle into the net.

Derby tried to get back in the match, only for Marshall to continue his fine performance between the sticks by tipping a Hendrick header round the post, while Craig Bryson fired wide from 25 yards.

The Rams' wayward finishing proved to be their downfall as Robinson this time missed the target, shooting over from 18 yards.

In the final minute, Derby almost netted a late consolation but Marshall was equal to John Brayford's shot, while Cardiff substitute Robert Earnshaw saw a shot blocked at the other end as he sought a goal against his former team.

Lineup, Bookings (2) & Substitutions (6)

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton Booked
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 37 McPhail (Ralls - 54' )
  • 09 Miller (Earnshaw - 69' )
  • 20 Mason (Blake - 79' )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 23 Blake
  • 27 Harris
  • 52 Ralls
  • 10 Earnshaw

Derby County

  • 01 Fielding
  • 03 Roberts
  • 06 Shackell
  • 17 Buxton
  • 31 Naylor (Brayford - 46' )
  • 04 Bryson
  • 23 Hendrick
  • 32 Green
  • 09 Tyson Booked
  • 10 Ward (S Davies - 49' )
  • 21 Robinson (Bailey - 83' )

Substitutes

  • 13 Legzdins
  • 02 Brayford
  • 16 Bailey
  • 19 Carroll
  • 07 S Davies
Ref: Probert
Att: 21,216

Match Stats

Shots

9 14

On target

6 9

Corners

6 11

Fouls

13 5

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +4:08 Full time

Full Time The game is over, as the referee blows his whistle.

90:00 +2:11

Robert Earnshaw takes a shot. John Brayford gets a block in.

90:00 +0:52

Corner taken by Paul Green played to the near post, Peter Whittingham manages to make a clearance.

90:00 +0:41

John Brayford takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.

90:00 +0:05

Mark Hudson challenges Steve Davies unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct effort from the free kick comes in from Steve Davies, save made by David Marshall.

87:02

Unfair challenge on Jeff Hendrick by Kevin McNaughton results in a free kick. Craig Bryson takes the free kick.

86:21

Paul Green takes the outswinging corner, clearance made by Ben Turner.

86:10

Free kick awarded for a foul by Peter Whittingham on James Bailey. James Bailey takes the free kick.

85:57

Unfair challenge on Paul Green by Liam Lawrence results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by John Brayford.

82:46 Substitution

Substitution (Derby) makes a substitution, with James Bailey coming on for Theo Robinson.

82:38

Theo Robinson takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.

82:30

Centre by Jason Shackell, Ben Turner manages to make a clearance.

82:07

The ball is sent over by Theo Robinson, clearance made by Ben Turner.

81:45

A cross is delivered by Jason Shackell, Mark Hudson manages to make a clearance.

81:20

Steve Davies restarts play with the free kick.

81:20 Booking

Booking Kevin McNaughton goes into the referee's book for unsporting behaviour.

81:15

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on John Brayford by Kevin McNaughton.

79:58

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Liam Lawrence by Craig Bryson. David Marshall takes the free kick.

79:37

Corner from the left by-line taken by Nathan Tyson, clearance made by Darcy Blake.

78:12 Substitution

Substitution Joe Mason leaves the field to be replaced by Darcy Blake.

73:15

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Paul Green, Headed effort from deep inside the penalty area by Jason Shackell misses to the left of the goal.

72:09

The ball is delivered by Paul Green.

70:08

Joe Ralls challenges Steve Davies unfairly and gives away a free kick. Paul Green delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from right channel, clearance made by Andrew Taylor.

69:42

Craig Bryson takes a shot. Blocked by Andrew Taylor.

69:25

Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Nathan Tyson from the left by-line, clearance by Ben Turner.

69:15

John Brayford crosses the ball, Ben Turner manages to make a clearance.

68:19 Substitution

Substitution Kenny Miller leaves the field to be replaced by Robert Earnshaw.

68:01

Corner taken by Craig Bryson from the right by-line played to the near post, Peter Whittingham makes a clearance.

67:42

The ball is delivered by Nathan Tyson, Jeff Hendrick takes a shot. David Marshall makes a save.

66:32

The ball is swung over by Nathan Tyson, Mark Hudson makes a clearance.

65:38

Foul by Ben Turner on Jason Shackell, free kick awarded. Frank Fielding takes the free kick.

65:11

Craig Bryson concedes a free kick for a foul on Peter Whittingham. Peter Whittingham takes the direct free kick.

62:50 Goal scored

Goal! - Mark Hudson - Cardiff 2 - 0 Derby Mark Hudson fires in a goal from a long way out low into the middle of the goal. Cardiff 2-0 Derby.

58:20

Nathan Tyson produces a cross, Ben Turner makes a clearance.

58:09

The ball is delivered by Nathan Tyson, clearance made by Mark Hudson.

57:59

Jeff Hendrick takes a shot. Blocked by Andrew Taylor.

57:08

Kevin McNaughton concedes a free kick for a foul on Nathan Tyson. Free kick taken by Gareth Roberts.

56:18

The ball is sent over by John Brayford. The referee blows for offside against Theo Robinson. David Marshall restarts play with the free kick.

56:04

Foul by Joe Mason on Craig Bryson, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Jake Buxton.

54:35

A cross is delivered by Peter Whittingham, Aron Gunnarsson takes a shot. Blocked by Jake Buxton.

54:35 Booking

Booking Booking for Nathan Tyson for unsporting behaviour.

54:28

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Kevin McNaughton by Nathan Tyson.

53:55

Kenny Miller is ruled offside. Free kick taken by Jason Shackell.

53:13 Substitution

Substitution Joe Ralls replaces Stephen McPhail.

51:37

Corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham, Frank Fielding makes a save.

48:45 Substitution

Substitution Steve Davies comes on in place of Jamie Ward.

45:01

The referee starts the second half.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Tom Naylor goes off and John Brayford comes on.

45:00 +1:13 Half time

Half Time The half-time whistle blows.

44:43

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jake Buxton on Andrew Taylor. David Marshall restarts play with the free kick.

43:15

Paul Green is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by David Marshall.

42:05

Jake Buxton fouled by Joe Mason, the ref awards a free kick. Frank Fielding takes the direct free kick.

41:30

Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham from the left by-line to the near post, Theo Robinson makes a clearance.

41:16

The ball is swung over by Joe Mason, Paul Green manages to make a clearance.

40:11

Outswinging corner taken by Jamie Ward from the right by-line, Jake Buxton takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.

36:26

Outswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Jamie Ward, Ben Turner makes a clearance.

36:17

Nathan Tyson takes a shot. Blocked by Peter Whittingham.

35:13

A cross is delivered by Jamie Ward, clearance by Mark Hudson.

33:19

Effort from outside the penalty box by Tom Naylor goes wide right of the goal.

32:36

Jeff Hendrick has an effort at goal from just outside the box which goes wide of the left-hand post.

30:10

The offside flag is raised against Theo Robinson. David Marshall restarts play with the free kick.

29:44

Gareth Roberts crosses the ball, Mark Hudson manages to make a clearance.

25:42

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward from the left by-line, save made by David Marshall.

25:08

Free kick awarded for a foul by Kenny Miller on Craig Bryson. Craig Bryson restarts play with the free kick.

23:06

Assist by Kenny Miller.

23:06 Goal scored

Goal! - Joe Mason - Cardiff 1 - 0 Derby Joe Mason gets on the score sheet with a goal from deep inside the penalty box to the bottom left corner of the goal. Cardiff 1-0 Derby.

22:51

Kenny Miller produces a right-footed shot from inside the penalty area and hits the post.

18:49

Corner from the left by-line taken by Liam Lawrence, Headed effort from inside the area by Ben Turner misses to the right of the goal.

17:35

Paul Green takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.

16:18

Corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Gareth Roberts.

16:08

Aron Gunnarsson takes a shot. Save made by Frank Fielding.

14:51

Nathan Tyson is flagged offside by the assistant referee. Indirect free kick taken by David Marshall.

13:48

Corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line, clearance by Tom Naylor.

13:36

Theo Robinson gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Mark Hudson. Mark Hudson takes the direct free kick.

11:56

Inswinging corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the left by-line, Tom Naylor makes a clearance.

9:53

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Paul Green by Andrew Taylor. Free kick taken by Jamie Ward.

9:33

Paul Green crosses the ball, Ben Turner makes a clearance.

7:51

Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Jamie Ward, Ben Turner manages to make a clearance.

7:31

Paul Green takes a shot. Andrew Taylor gets a block in.

7:19

Unfair challenge on Nathan Tyson by Peter Whittingham results in a free kick. Gareth Roberts takes the free kick.

5:13

Corner taken by Jamie Ward, Shot by Jason Shackell from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the goal.

5:01

Kenny Miller takes a shot. Frank Fielding makes a save.

4:05

Kenny Miller produces a right-footed shot from just outside the box that goes wide right of the goal.

0:00

The game begins.

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