Championship
Cardiff1Aston Villa0

Cardiff City 1-0 Aston Villa

Joe Ralls celebrates
Joe Ralls celebrates scoring his third goal for Cardiff City this season

Cardiff City eased their relegation worries with a win over Championship play-off contenders Aston Villa.

Joe Ralls volleyed Cardiff in front from a corner and the hosts missed a flurry of first-half chances.

Villa rallied as Ross McCormack was denied a goal against his old club when his free-kick was tipped on to the bar by Bluebirds goalkeeper Brian Murphy.

Cardiff held on to climb up to 19th - still three points clear of the bottom three - while Villa drop to 13th.

Whereas Cardiff started this game looking over their shoulders at the relegation zone, Villa were aiming to close the six-point gap between themselves and the play-off places.

Steve Bruce's side were woefully off the pace in a first half in which they were fortunate not to concede more than once.

Villa were behind after 16 minutes, as a goalmouth scramble from Joe Bennett's corner saw the ball pop up invitingly for Ralls, who guided his volley through the melee of bodies and into the net.

Villa's Gary Gardner challenges Cardiff City's Sean Morrison
Villa's Gary Gardner challenges Cardiff City's Sean Morrison

The visitors struggled to recover from that setback, overrun and outfought by their combative opponents.

Striker Kenneth Zohore had two glorious chances to double Cardiff's lead but volleyed his first against the post and, moments later, dithered when clean through on goal and saw his shot blocked by Jordan Amavi.

Bypassed in the first half, Villa's anonymous midfield pairing of Ashley Westwood and Gary Gardner were replaced by Aaron Tshibola and forward Gabriel Agbonlahor at half-time as Bruce tried to salvage the situation.

The changes gave the visitors some much-needed urgency, and they were inches away from an equaliser when McCormack's dipping free-kick was well tipped on to the bar by Murphy.

Agbonlahor also forced Murphy into a good save as Cardiff started to retreat, defending deeper but resolutely as they resisted Villa's late onslaught.

Cardiff manager Neil Warnock: "That's the best we've played by a mile since I've been at the club.

"I thought we dominated for large periods and all round it was a good performance.

"It was a great atmosphere and the game had everything really. It was like a cup tie and I thought that 30 minutes into the first half we were going to regret the missed chances.

"But in the Championship you need people to stand up when the chips are down and we did that in the second half."

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Villa were awful, says Bruce

Aston Villa manager Steve Bruce: "It was a slow start - it was that slow that we stopped.

"That's two or three times we've done that now and the first half was nowhere near the performance required. The only thing I can put it down to is mentality.

"We're arguably the biggest club in this division and that makes us a scalp but if we don't find the right mentality, we won't achieve what we want."

Line-ups

Cardiff

  • 28Murphy
  • 2PeltierBooked at 74mins
  • 14BambaBooked at 64mins
  • 4Morrison
  • 5Ecuele Manga
  • 3BennettSubstituted forConnollyat 83'minutes
  • 24K Harris
  • 17GunnarssonBooked at 57mins
  • 8RallsBooked at 27mins
  • 33HoilettSubstituted forNooneat 37'minutes
  • 26Zohore

Substitutes

  • 6Richards
  • 11Noone
  • 13Pilkington
  • 16Connolly
  • 19Lambert
  • 25Huws
  • 30Wilson

Aston Villa

  • 31Bunn
  • 21HuttonBooked at 85mins
  • 12ChesterBooked at 41mins
  • 2Baker
  • 23Amavi
  • 22GardnerSubstituted forAgbonlahorat 45'minutes
  • 15WestwoodSubstituted forTshibolaat 45'minutes
  • 37Adomah
  • 40GrealishBooked at 60mins
  • 7BacunaBooked at 78mins
  • 44McCormackSubstituted forHepburn-Murphyat 82'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Gollini
  • 6Elphick
  • 8Tshibola
  • 10J Ayew
  • 11Agbonlahor
  • 28Cissokho
  • 29Hepburn-Murphy
Referee:
Andy Davies
Attendance:
21,391

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamAston Villa
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home20
Away12
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home7
Away9
Fouls
Home18
Away14

Live Text

Match ends, Cardiff City 1, Aston Villa 0.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Cardiff City 1, Aston Villa 0.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Aron Gunnarsson.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Lee Peltier (Cardiff City).

Offside, Aston Villa. Jordan Amavi tries a through ball, but Gabriel Agbonlahor is caught offside.

Booking

Alan Hutton (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Alan Hutton (Aston Villa).

Kadeem Harris (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Attempt missed. Aaron Tshibola (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is high and wide to the right following a corner.

Attempt blocked. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Jack Grealish.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Bruno Ecuele Manga.

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Matthew Connolly replaces Joe Bennett.

Substitution

Substitution, Aston Villa. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy replaces Ross McCormack.

Attempt missed. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Joe Ralls.

Booking

Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Leandro Bacuna (Aston Villa).

Kadeem Harris (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa).

Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Booking

Lee Peltier (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Jack Grealish (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Lee Peltier (Cardiff City).

Attempt missed. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Brian Murphy.

Attempt saved. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Ross McCormack.

Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Joe Bennett (Cardiff City).

Corner, Aston Villa. Conceded by Joe Bennett.

Attempt saved. Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top right corner. Assisted by Jordan Amavi.

Foul by Aaron Tshibola (Aston Villa).

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt saved. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Kenneth Zohore.

Attempt blocked. Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) header from the centre of the box is blocked.

Ross McCormack (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Bruno Ecuele Manga (Cardiff City).

Albert Adomah (Aston Villa) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

Foul by Joe Bennett (Cardiff City).

Booking

Sol Bamba (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Brighton24166240152554
2Newcastle25171748202852
3Reading2414463632446
4Huddersfield2514473028246
5Leeds25143834241045
6Sheff Wed2512672824442
7Derby2511772418640
8Barnsley2511594337638
9Norwich25114104137437
10Fulham2499641301136
11Preston2510693332136
12Aston Villa2581162624235
13Birmingham259883035-535
14Brentford2596103231133
15Ipswich2587102529-431
16Wolves2578103234-229
17QPR2585122436-1229
18Bristol City2583143335-227
19Cardiff2476112738-1127
20Nottm Forest2575133745-826
21Burton2567122634-825
22Blackburn2566132940-1124
23Wigan2547142031-1119
24Rotherham2534182555-3013
View full Championship table

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