Aron Gunnarsson scored an injury time winner as Cardiff hit back to beat nine-man Watford to maintain their 100% home record.

Tommie Hoban scored from close range to give Watford the lead but Daniel Pudil was sent-off after striking out at Craig Noone.

Peter Whittingham levelled from the spot after a hand ball before Nathaniel Chalobah was shown a second yellow.

And Gunnarsson headed home the winner from Noone's cross in injury time.

Victory saw Malky Mackay's side set a new club record of six successive home league wins at the start of a season.

Craig Bellamy and Noone returned to Cardiff's line-up and defender Ben Turner started only his third game of the season.

Alex Geijo, Matej Vydra and Yeates were the changes to the Watford side which had beaten Peterborough.

Bellamy looked lively early on and he felt his side should have been awarded a penalty after his run was brought to a halt by Marco Cassetti.

On-loan Watford striker Vydra's low drive was palmed away for a corner by David Marshall while Cardiff's Turner headed wide from Noone's corner.

But it was Watford who took the lead against the run of play on 27 minutes through 19-year-old Hoban.

Marco Cassetti's header at the near post was kept out by Marshall and Hoban stabbed the ball home from close range in a packed penalty area.

Having fallen behind, the home side were finding it hard to break down a well organised Watford, who were also looking threatening on the break.

Bellamy, who had received treatment following his earlier clash with Cassetti, failed to reappear for the second half and Joe Mason replaced the Wales striker.

Watford could have extended their lead 10 minutes into the second half when Alex Geijo, making his first start, forced Marshall into a full-stretch save.

But Gianfranco Zola's side were reduced to ten men on 63 minutes when Pudil was sent off after striking out at Noone.

Almost immediately Cardiff nearly capitalised but former Watford striker Heidar Helguson failed to test Manuel Almunia.

Cardiff were now in the ascendancy and they were awarded a penalty when Matthew Connolly's shot was handled by Jonathan Hogg

Whittingham stepped up and drove his shot down the middle to level the scores for his seventh goal of the season.

Things went from bad to worse for Watford minutes later when defender Chalobah was shown a second yellow card for petulantly kicking the ball away.

Almunia denied Noone and it looked as though Watford would earn a point before Noone's cross was met by the unmarked Gunnarsson.

The goal was history in the making as Cardiff secured a sixth successive home win to maintain their promotion push.

Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay:

"We knew it was going to be a tough game, it's why Watford have won the away games they have this season. They sit in and they've got quality on the counter.

"We knew we were going to have to be very patient and I think we were. My message at half-time was to be calm, keep probing and shifting the ball quickly. It was moments of quality that really counted.

"We felt we definitely had to go for the throat and go for the win."

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola:

"It's very cruel, not just for me but for the players because of the way they played and performed.

"To see them come away with a defeat is hard to take. I feel sick for the players.

"At 11 versus 11, we were 1-0 up and in control. The balance of the game changed completely with the red cards."

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (5)

Cardiff

  • 01 Marshall
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson Booked
  • 06 Turner (Gestede - 74' )
  • 12 Connolly
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 16 Noone
  • 14 Smith (Gunnarsson - 84' )
  • 22 Helguson
  • 39 Bellamy (Mason - 46' )

Substitutes

  • 32 Lewis
  • 02 McNaughton
  • 11 Conway
  • 13 Kim Bo-Kyung
  • 17 Gunnarsson
  • 15 Gestede
  • 20 Mason

Watford

  • 01 Almunia
  • 06 Hall
  • 12 Doyley
  • 18 Pudil Dismissed
  • 27 Cassetti Booked
  • 31 Hoban
  • 07 Yeates Booked
  • 08 Hogg
  • 39 Chalobah Dismissed after an earlier booking
  • 20 Vydra (Anya - 60' )
  • 36 Geijo (Deeney - 74' )

Substitutes

  • 30 Bond
  • 29 Thompson
  • 16 Murray
  • 21 Anya
  • 22 Abdi
  • 09 Deeney
  • 41 Forestieri
Ref: Mark Heywood
Att: 20,077

Match Stats

Shots

18 11

On target

8 6

Corners

8 4

Fouls

6 11

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +5:26 Full time

Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.

90:00 +4:47

Effort on goal by Jonathan Hogg from just inside the penalty area goes over the target.

90:00 +3:49

Close range effort by Craig Noone misses to the right of the goal.

90:00 +0:46

The assist for the goal came from Craig Noone.

90:00 +0:46 Goal scored

Goal! - Aron Gunnarsson - Cardiff 2 - 1 Watford Aron Gunnarsson scores a headed goal from inside the penalty area. Cardiff 2-1 Watford.

89:14

Andrew Taylor sends in a cross.

89:08

Don Cowie produces a cross, Adam Thompson makes a clearance.

86:56

Free kick awarded for a foul by Don Cowie on Ikechi Anya. Free kick taken by Mark Yeates.

86:19

The ball is swung over by Craig Noone.

85:36

The ball is swung over by Don Cowie, Rudy Gestede takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.

84:51

Andrew Taylor produces a cross.

84:36

Unfair challenge on Mark Hudson by Troy Deeney results in a free kick. Free kick taken by Mark Hudson.

83:26 Substitution

Substitution Aron Gunnarsson joins the action as a substitute, replacing Tommy Smith.

82:43

Mark Hudson sends in a cross.

82:18

Mark Yeates takes a shot. Brilliant save by David Marshall.

80:52

Peter Whittingham sends in a cross, Don Cowie produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the right of the goal.

80:31

The ball is crossed by Matthew Connolly, Jonathan Hogg makes a clearance.

80:07

Andrew Taylor sends in a cross, clearance by Lloyd Doyley.

79:56

Peter Whittingham produces a drilled left-footed shot from 20 yards. Blocked by Jonathan Hogg.

79:03

The ball is sent over by Craig Noone.

77:18

Tommy Smith takes a shot. Save made by Manuel Almunia.

76:17

Corner taken by Peter Whittingham, Matthew Connolly produces a right-footed shot from inside the six-yard box that clears the bar.

75:22

Ikechi Anya concedes a free kick for a foul on Tommy Smith. Shot comes in from Peter Whittingham from the free kick, save made by Manuel Almunia.

74:41

Header from deep inside the area by Troy Deeney goes harmlessly over the crossbar.

72:40

Direct free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

72:40 Substitution

Substitution Troy Deeney on for Alexandre Geijo.

72:40 Substitution

Substitution Ben Turner goes off and Rudy Gestede comes on.

72:40

Corner taken by Peter Whittingham, Adam Thompson fouled by Mark Hudson, the ref awards a free kick.

72:12

Tommy Smith takes a short corner.

71:47

David Marshall takes the indirect free kick.

71:47 Dismissal

Dismissal Nathaniel Chalobah receives a red card for second bookable offence.

71:19

Alexandre Geijo is caught offside.

70:55 Substitution

Substitution Marco Cassetti leaves the field to be replaced by Adam Thompson.

70:49 Goal scored

Goal! - Peter Whittingham - Cardiff 1 - 1 Watford Power penalty scored by Peter Whittingham. Cardiff 1-1 Watford.

69:37 Booking

Booking Mark Yeates is given a yellow card.

69:34

The referee gives a against Mark Yeates for handball.

69:00

Matthew Connolly takes a shot.

68:34

The ball is swung over by Craig Noone, Tommy Smith takes a shot. Clearance made by Tommie Hoban.

67:56

The ball is sent over by Heidar Helguson, Manuel Almunia makes a comfortable save.

67:36

A cross is delivered by Ikechi Anya.

66:58

Heidar Helguson concedes a free kick for a foul on Tommie Hoban. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

64:34

Inswinging corner taken by Peter Whittingham, Close range headed effort by Heidar Helguson misses to the right of the goal.

64:25

The ball is sent over by Andrew Taylor, clearance by Tommie Hoban.

63:12 Dismissal

Dismissal Daniel Pudil is sent off by the referee.

61:58

Corner taken left-footed by Peter Whittingham from the left by-line to the near post, Alexandre Geijo manages to make a clearance.

61:37

The ball is sent over by Andrew Taylor, Craig Noone takes a shot. Manuel Almunia makes a save.

61:33

The ball is delivered by Craig Noone.

61:12

Craig Noone sends in a cross, clearance made by Tommie Hoban.

60:58

Corner taken short by Peter Whittingham.

60:52

Centre by Joe Mason, Marco Cassetti makes a clearance.

59:58 Substitution

Substitution Matej Vydra leaves the field to be replaced by Ikechi Anya.

59:37

Fitz Hall takes a shot.

59:01

Corner taken by Mark Yeates played to the near post, Alexandre Geijo takes a shot. Blocked by Ben Turner.

58:43

Alexandre Geijo takes a shot. Save made by David Marshall.

57:25

The ball is sent over by Andrew Taylor, save made by Manuel Almunia.

55:59

Daniel Pudil takes the free kick.

55:59 Booking

Booking Mark Hudson goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

55:51

Matej Vydra fouled by Mark Hudson, the ref awards a free kick.

55:28

Andrew Taylor delivers the ball, Tommie Hoban manages to make a clearance.

52:15

Craig Noone takes a shot from just outside the penalty area which clears the crossbar.

52:05

The ball is crossed by Don Cowie, clearance by Fitz Hall.

50:32

The ball is sent over by Andrew Taylor, clearance made by Marco Cassetti.

49:45

Corner taken by Peter Whittingham from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Alexandre Geijo.

49:37

Matthew Connolly sends in a cross, Lloyd Doyley gets a block in.

47:09

Mark Yeates gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Andrew Taylor. Free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.

46:54

Alexandre Geijo concedes a free kick for a foul on Ben Turner. Free kick taken by Peter Whittingham.

46:31

Manuel Almunia fouled by Heidar Helguson, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

46:12

Centre by Craig Noone, comfortable save by Manuel Almunia.

45:01

The referee gets the second half started.

45:01 Substitution

Substitution Joe Mason replaces Craig Bellamy.

45:00 +2:19 Half time

Half Time The ref blows to end the first period.

45:00 +1:55

Effort on goal by Daniel Pudil from just outside the penalty area goes harmlessly over the target.

45:00 +1:28

Inswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Peter Whittingham.

45:00 +1:10

Jonathan Hogg takes a shot. Ben Turner gets a block in.

45:00 +0:16

Matthew Connolly produces a cross, Marco Cassetti manages to make a clearance.

43:55

The ball is delivered by Craig Bellamy.

40:13

The assistant referee flags for offside against Craig Bellamy. Manuel Almunia takes the free kick.

37:20

The referee blows for offside against Craig Noone. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.

37:06

Foul by Mark Yeates on Tommy Smith, free kick awarded. Matthew Connolly takes the free kick.

36:33

The ball is sent over by Lloyd Doyley, clearance made by Ben Turner.

33:25

Craig Bellamy delivers the ball, Headed effort from inside the area by Don Cowie misses to the left of the goal.

33:25 Booking

Booking The referee books Nathaniel Chalobah for unsporting behaviour.

32:53

Nathaniel Chalobah challenges Peter Whittingham unfairly and gives away a free kick.

30:46

Tommy Smith produces a cross.

29:30

Shot from close range by Don Cowie misses to the right of the goal.

27:47

Marco Cassetti provided the assist for the goal.

27:47 Goal scored

Goal! - Tommie Hoban - Cardiff 0 - 1 Watford Tommie Hoban fires in a goal from inside the six-yard box low into the middle of the goal. Cardiff 0-1 Watford.

26:19

Mark Yeates takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, Marco Cassetti takes a shot. Save made by David Marshall.

26:12

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

24:58

The ball is sent over by Tommy Smith.

23:02

A cross is delivered by Peter Whittingham.

21:16

Marco Cassetti challenges Peter Whittingham unfairly and gives away a free kick. The free kick is swung in right-footed by Peter Whittingham, Mark Yeates makes a clearance.

20:04

Craig Bellamy takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line to the near post, clearance by Alexandre Geijo.

17:57

Craig Bellamy produces a cross, Close range headed effort by Ben Turner misses to the right of the goal.

17:57 Booking

Booking Booking for Marco Cassetti for unsporting behaviour.

17:49

Foul by Marco Cassetti on Craig Noone, free kick awarded.

17:02

Inswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the left by-line, save by David Marshall.

16:45

Matej Vydra takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.

15:17

Tommy Smith delivers the ball, Mark Yeates makes a clearance.

11:12

The ball is sent over by Craig Noone, Tommy Smith takes a shot. Save by Manuel Almunia.

10:36

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Heidar Helguson by Lloyd Doyley. Peter Whittingham restarts play with the free kick.

9:57

The referee blows for offside against Craig Bellamy. Manuel Almunia restarts play with the free kick.

8:35

Unfair challenge on Alexandre Geijo by Peter Whittingham results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mark Yeates.

7:52

Foul by Alexandre Geijo on Mark Hudson, free kick awarded. Don Cowie restarts play with the free kick.

5:07

Free kick awarded for a foul by Alexandre Geijo on Andrew Taylor. Ben Turner takes the free kick.

4:28

Peter Whittingham has an effort at goal from outside the penalty area missing to the wide left of the goal.

3:12

The referee blows for offside against Craig Noone. Free kick taken by Manuel Almunia.

1:52

Craig Noone sends in a cross, save made by Manuel Almunia.

1:33

The ball is crossed by Craig Bellamy, clearance by Fitz Hall.

0:00

The game kicks-off.

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