Championship
Cardiff3Birmingham2

Cardiff City 3-2 Birmingham City

Cardiff celebrate a goal
Cardiff's victory came after Neil Warnock was awarded the February manager of the month award for the Championship, his ninth manager of the month accolade in the division

Cardiff won a sixth successive match in the Championship to strengthen their grip on an automatic promotion spot.

But Birmingham City's relegation fears will increase after this defeat, the second under new boss Garry Monk. They have now lost eight matches in a row.

First-half goals from Nathaniel Mendez-Laing, Craig Bryson and Callum Paterson put Cardiff firmly in control.

Birmingham did battle hard after the break and Craig Gardner's penalty and Maxime Colin's finish gave them hope.

Cardiff remain second and Birmingham are still 22nd, two points adrift of safety.

A tough task for Monk

Birmingham had already beaten Cardiff once this season, 1-0 at St Andrews in previous boss Steve Cotterill's first game in charge in October. However, Monk has inherited a side now in the Championship relegation zone.

Monk's first game as a manager, for Swansea City in February 2014, was against Cardiff City - and his side won 3-0. But he has not beaten Neil Warnock as a manager in four attempts, with four different clubs, and if he is not sure about the size of the task facing him to keep Blues in the division, he will be now.

Cardiff are now unbeaten in five home league matches against Birmingham City since September 2008, but they will rarely have had it so easy as they did in the first half.

Their breakthrough came on 12 minutes when Mendez-Laing cut inside and fired home his first goal since August.

Bryson doubled the lead on 24 minutes with a finish from close range after Joe Bennett and Callum Paterson combined.

Striker Kenneth Zohore then missed a golden chance to extend the lead just before the interval, before Paterson thought he had made the game safe by heading home at the far post. It would have been a perfect half for Cardiff had Bryson not limped off injured.

Cardiff looking strong in promotion fight

Cardiff have won now eight and drawn one of their nine home Championship matches against sides in the bottom half of the table as they continue to show they will contend for more than the play-off berth their manager is targeting.

Warnock might have been forgiven for fearing this contest could prove a banana skin for his side.

The veteran manager had failed to win any of his last seven league matches against Birmingham, with the last win coming as Sheffield United manager back in November 2001.

Warnock would have hoped Cardiff's three goals in the first half meant he was not going to be the latest victim of the supposed manager of the month curse, but Birmingham did improve dramatically in the second period.

Just as in midweek against Barnsley, the Bluebirds faithful were made to sweat victory somewhat after seemingly being comfortable.

First, Gardner converted from the spot after the referee spotted a tug on Harlee Dean, with the home fans' frustrations compounded when Junior Hoilett had a penalty claim turned down.

Things might have got even worse for Cardiff, but Neil Etheridge made an amazing close range save to deny Birmingham skipper Michael Morrison, while sub Che Adams also came close before Colin lashed home a second goal deep into injury time.

However, the Bluebirds could also have added to their tally in the second half and are gaining momentum in their bid to finish in the Championship's top two.

Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock:

"We don't think about promotion, today's target has been met for the play-offs and we're there.

"We don't look at it, the other teams are still winning. We just have 10 games. We could have made it easier, but we never do that. Hopefully we've saved up the goals we missed until we need them."

"The penalty was for nothing, you wouldn't have anything happen to you if you did something like that in a shopping centre. It could have cost us promotion. There was no reason to give it."

Birmingham City manager Garry Monk:

"The first half was one of those times where we didn't play too badly but we didn't defend well enough in the three situations.

"I was very interested to see how we reacted in the second half because the capabilities of the squad was a reason why I came here, and that was exactly what we should be doing.

"We defended better and created chances. We had a great chance to make it 3-2 with 20 minutes to go which would have made it really interesting.

"The lesson has to be learned that we can't give periods away, we have to do what we did in the second half right from the start, and that begins today, not before kick-off against Hull next week. We have to change now."

Line-ups

Cardiff

  • 25EtheridgeBooked at 78mins
  • 2PeltierSubstituted forMorrisonat 74'minutes
  • 5Ecuele Manga
  • 14BambaBooked at 58mins
  • 3BennettBooked at 90mins
  • 18Paterson
  • 24Grujic
  • 21BrysonSubstituted forDamourat 37'minutes
  • 19Mendez-LaingSubstituted forHalfordat 81'minutes
  • 10Zohore
  • 33Hoilett

Substitutes

  • 4Morrison
  • 13Pilkington
  • 15Halford
  • 20Damour
  • 28Murphy
  • 35Wildschut
  • 44Madine

Birmingham

  • 13Stockdale
  • 22JenkinsonSubstituted forRobertsat 45'minutes
  • 28MorrisonBooked at 88mins
  • 12DeanBooked at 68mins
  • 5Colin
  • 27Jota
  • 6Kieftenbeld
  • 8Gardner
  • 19MaghomaSubstituted forBogaat 79'minutes
  • 10JutkiewiczSubstituted forAdamsat 69'minutes
  • 18Gallagher

Substitutes

  • 4Roberts
  • 14Adams
  • 15Bramall
  • 17Ndoye
  • 20Boga
  • 21Lowe
  • 29Kuszczak
Referee:
Peter Bankes
Attendance:
19,634

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamBirmingham
Possession
Home42%
Away58%
Shots
Home15
Away16
Shots on Target
Home6
Away7
Corners
Home6
Away12
Fouls
Home9
Away12

Live Text

Match ends, Cardiff City 3, Birmingham City 2.

Full Time

Second Half ends, Cardiff City 3, Birmingham City 2.

Booking

Joe Bennett (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card.

Goal!

Goal! Cardiff City 3, Birmingham City 2. Maxime Colin (Birmingham City) right footed shot from the left side of the box to the top right corner. Assisted by Jeremie Boga.

Attempt missed. Maikel Kieftenbeld (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is too high.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Sol Bamba.

Attempt blocked. Loïc Damour (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.

Attempt blocked. Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked. Assisted by Marko Grujic with a cross.

Foul by Maxime Colin (Birmingham City).

Callum Paterson (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Foul by Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City).

Attempt missed. David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right.

Booking

Michael Morrison (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Marc Roberts (Birmingham City).

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the left wing.

Foul by Michael Morrison (Birmingham City).

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

Attempt saved. Craig Gardner (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is saved in the centre of the goal. Assisted by Che Adams.

Attempt saved. Sean Morrison (Cardiff City) header from the left side of the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by David Junior Hoilett with a cross.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by David Stockdale.

Attempt saved. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) left footed shot from a difficult angle on the right is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Callum Paterson.

Attempt missed. Loïc Damour (Cardiff City) right footed shot from outside the box is close, but misses to the left following a corner.

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Greg Halford replaces Nathaniel Mendez-Laing.

Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Harlee Dean.

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Jeremie Boga replaces Jacques Maghoma.

Attempt missed. Che Adams (Birmingham City) left footed shot from the left side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Jacques Maghoma.

Booking

Neil Etheridge (Cardiff City) is shown the yellow card.

Foul by Marc Roberts (Birmingham City).

David Junior Hoilett (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

Attempt blocked. Che Adams (Birmingham City) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Jota.

Substitution

Substitution, Cardiff City. Sean Morrison replaces Lee Peltier.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Sol Bamba.

Corner, Birmingham City. Conceded by Loïc Damour.

Che Adams (Birmingham City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

Foul by Marko Grujic (Cardiff City).

Substitution

Substitution, Birmingham City. Che Adams replaces Lukas Jutkiewicz.

Booking

Harlee Dean (Birmingham City) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.

Foul by Harlee Dean (Birmingham City).

Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) wins a free kick on the right wing.

goal

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Wolves36237663323176
2Cardiff36227755302573
3Aston Villa36209760332769
4Fulham371911764392568
5Derby361613755342161
6Middlesbrough371871253351861
7Bristol City371513953421158
8Preston37141584637957
9Sheff Utd36175144943656
10Millwall371413104437755
11Brentford3614111152421053
12Ipswich36157144744352
13Leeds37148154951-250
14Norwich361212123741-448
15Nottm Forest36135184354-1144
16QPR361110154052-1243
17Sheff Wed37814153951-1238
18Hull36812165056-636
19Reading36812164251-936
20Bolton37812173256-2436
21Barnsley36711183653-1732
22Birmingham3786232557-3230
23Burton3679202662-3630
24Sunderland37513193866-2828
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