Championship
CardiffCardiff City2LutonLuton Town1

Cardiff City 2-1 Luton Town

By Dafydd PritchardBBC Sport Wales at Cardiff City Stadium
Aden Flint scores for Cardiff City
Aden Flint scored his first goal for Cardiff since joining from Middlesbrough
Saturday's Championship as it happened

Isaac Vassell scored a dramatic winning goal just minutes after coming on for his debut to give Cardiff City a first win of the Championship season against newly promoted Luton Town.

Although the Hatters were allowed to control possession for long periods, Cardiff created the vast majority of scoring opportunities thanks to their pace on the break and aerial prowess from set-pieces.

Their direct approach paid dividends early in the second half as towering centre-back Aden Flint volleyed in from Josh Murphy's free-kick.

With four minutes left, they were given a taste of their own medicine as Matt Pearson headed in firmly from Luke Berry's corner - but then Vassell nodded in from fellow substitute Junior Hoilett's cross to spark jubilant celebrations at Cardiff City Stadium.

Signed from Birmingham City on the final day of the transfer window on Thursday, Vassell had only replaced fellow debutant Robert Glatzel in the 91st minute before striking less than five minutes later.

The forward was mobbed by his team-mates, who moments earlier had thought they were to be denied a first victory of the campaign.

Luton players celebrate Matt Pearson's equaliser
Luton players celebrate Matt Pearson's equaliser

This was a real clash of styles, with Neil Warnock's physically imposing, counter-attacking hosts posing a stark contrast to a Luton side whose patient, passing style had helped them win last season's League One title with a flourish.

Content to let their opponents keep the ball at times, Cardiff were most dangerous when they broke at speed and put their significant size to use from set-pieces.

Murphy threatened with his pace on the left wing and had three early chances to score, while centre-back and captain Sean Morrison had a header tipped on to the bar by Simon Sluga.

With six of their starting line-up taller than six feet, Cardiff dominated in the air throughout, so it was no surprise to see their biggest player of all, Flint, give them the lead.

Naturally, the goal came from a set-piece, Murphy curling an inviting free-kick towards the back post, where 6ft 6in centre-back Flint was on hand to volley in his first goal for the club in only his second appearance since joining from Middlesbrough.

Luton struggled to repel Cardiff's corners and free-kicks but, when they advanced into the opposition half, the visitors showed glimpses of their attacking threat, such as James Collins' first-time effort which hit the side netting.

Graeme Jones' men thought they had snatched a point with Pearson's thumping header, but they were dealt a cruel late blow as Vassell nodded in.

It was a moment of huge relief for Cardiff, who demonstrated the kind of determination which will delight Warnock as he aims for a record ninth promotion and an instant return to the Premier League.

Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock:

"I thought we showed a lot of character. We had five players making debuts and had nervous characters before the game but I thought we really grew into it.

"We needed a goal to dampen Luton's enthusiasm and we had enough chances to make it comfortable.

"They took their chance in the second half and made it difficult for us, but credit to us, we didn't sulk. Junior came on and delivered a great ball and it was nice to see Isaac come on and finish."

Luton Town manager Graeme Jones:

"We didn't control the moment. We were slicing things and putting it out for throw-ins. That's how they play. It's not how we play. We played really well for 94 minutes and competed but the game is about 95.

"We made some rash decisions when we were fatigued. I am disappointed with the first goal because we had worked at that a lot.

"The only thing I asked the players to do was be themselves before the game. Overall they were, it's just the last minute of the game, we got punished."

Line-ups

Cardiff

Formation 4-2-3-1

  • 12Smithies
  • 2Peltier
  • 4Morrison
  • 5Flint
  • 3Bennett
  • 8Ralls
  • 15Pack
  • 20WhyteSubstituted forVaulksat 76'minutes
  • 13PatersonBooked at 45mins
  • 11MurphyBooked at 21minsSubstituted forHoilettat 68'minutes
  • 9GlatzelSubstituted forVassellat 90+1'minutes

Substitutes

  • 6Vaulks
  • 7Bacuna
  • 10Vassell
  • 16Nelson
  • 25Day
  • 27Bogle
  • 33Hoilett

Luton

Formation 4-1-2-1-2

  • 12Sluga
  • 2CranieSubstituted forBreeat 74'minutes
  • 6Pearson
  • 5Bradley
  • 3PottsBooked at 90mins
  • 17Mpanzu
  • 4Tunnicliffe
  • 29ButterfieldSubstituted forBerryat 84'minutes
  • 20MoncurSubstituted forCornickat 55'minutes
  • 19CollinsBooked at 61mins
  • 7McManaman

Substitutes

  • 8Berry
  • 10Lee
  • 11Shinnie
  • 14Cornick
  • 23Galloway
  • 26Bree
  • 36Shea
Referee:
Darren Bond
Attendance:
24,724

Match Stats

Home TeamCardiffAway TeamLuton
Possession
Home37%
Away63%
Shots
Home17
Away8
Shots on Target
Home5
Away2
Corners
Home3
Away3
Fouls
Home13
Away11

Live Text

  1. Post update

    Match ends, Cardiff City 2, Luton Town 1.

  2. Full Time

    Second Half ends, Cardiff City 2, Luton Town 1.

  3. Post update

    Offside, Luton Town. Dan Potts tries a through ball, but James Collins is caught offside.

  4. Goal!

    Goal! Cardiff City 2, Luton Town 1. Isaac Vassell (Cardiff City) header from very close range to the top left corner. Assisted by David Junior Hoilett with a cross.

  5. Booking

    Dan Potts (Luton Town) is shown the yellow card.

  6. Post update

    Foul by Luke Berry (Luton Town).

  7. Post update

    Will Vaulks (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  8. Post update

    Attempt missed. Joe Ralls (Cardiff City) header from the centre of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Callum Paterson.

  9. Post update

    Delay over. They are ready to continue.

  10. Substitution

    Substitution, Cardiff City. Isaac Vassell replaces Robert Glatzel.

  11. Post update

    Delay in match because of an injury Simon Sluga (Luton Town).

  12. Post update

    Pelly-Ruddock Mpanzu (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the attacking half.

  13. Post update

    Foul by Marlon Pack (Cardiff City).

  14. Post update

    Ryan Tunnicliffe (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  15. Post update

    Foul by Callum Paterson (Cardiff City).

  16. Goal!

    Goal! Cardiff City 1, Luton Town 1. Matty Pearson (Luton Town) header from the centre of the box to the bottom right corner. Assisted by Luke Berry with a cross following a corner.

  17. Post update

    Corner, Luton Town. Conceded by Joe Ralls.

  18. Post update

    Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by James Bree.

  19. Post update

    James Collins (Luton Town) wins a free kick in the defensive half.

  20. Post update

    Foul by Aden Flint (Cardiff City).

As It Stood

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sheff Wed22005146
2Charlton22005236
3Leeds21104224
4QPR21103214
5West Brom21103214
6Derby21102114
7Swansea21102114
8Birmingham21102114
9Millwall21102114
10Preston21013123
11Fulham21012113
12Cardiff21014403
13Hull21013303
14Brentford21011103
15Barnsley210112-13
16Wigan210135-23
17Luton201145-11
18Middlesbrough201134-11
19Huddersfield201123-11
20Nottm Forest201123-11
21Bristol City201124-21
22Reading200225-30
23Stoke200225-30
24Blackburn200214-30
View full Championship table

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