Cardiff clinched a late vital home win in Saturday’s lunch-time kick-off as they beat the 10-men of Brighton in Wales.
Lewis Dunk opened the scoring early on for the Seagulls, but Cardiff bounced back through Callum Paterson. Dale Stephens was sent off for Brighton in the first half, after a rash challenge on Greg Cunningham. Cardiff seized the initiative in the second half and grabbed a late winner through Sol Bamba to send the crowd into raptures.
Kadeem Harris was a livewire throughout the game
Cardiff have been in need of an attacking spark many times this season, and it was provided by Harris against Brighton. The diminutive winger was lively throughout the game, and his pace and trickery troubled the Brighton backline. He went on a great run in the first half and set up Callum Paterson to score the equaliser for the Bluebirds.
Cardiff commenced the second half with great energy, and almost took the lead through Harris. He took the ball on the edge of the area and curled a delectable strike which beat Matt Ryan but didn’t beat the crossbar. Harris attempted four dribbles and completed two key passes, as he will hope to cement a spot in Neil Warnock’s eleven. Considering Cardiff’s attacking woes, that seems highly likely.
Cardiff almost let a golden opportunity for points slip
Brighton took the lead early on, and the signs were looking ominous for Cardiff. But after the equalising goal and Stephens’ red card, the hue of the tie changed by great lengths. Cardiff had a numerical advantage and the Seagulls had seemingly lost their bearings in the second half.
Cardiff were peppering the Brighton goal with their attacks and had dominance over possession. Their fans were behind them with raucous support, and the stage was set for a win. But they almost failed to take advantage of the situation, as Brighton looked to have clinched a point. Until Sol Bamba’s heroics gave way to pandemonium.
Paterson turns the game around for Cardiff
Throughout the season, Warnock has hunted for his striker, deploying numerous men in that position. Bobby Reid, Kenneth Zohore, Danny Ward have all played there, but Callum Paterson looks to have cemented that place after his performance against Brighton.
He scored the first today, a simple header from Harris’ cross. Paterson was involved in the late goalmouth scramble as well, and Bamba scored the winner off his rebound. He led the line well throughout the game, and his strength enabled him to hold up the ball well. Warnock’s style of play is well suited for Paterson, and he’s warming up to the role quite well.
Brighton’s staunch second-half defending goes in vain
Chris Hughton knew what awaited them in the second half, and he must have demanded a resolute defensive performance from his side. They almost completed it, only to be undone by a late winner. But that should not undermine their work before the goal.
Both Lewis Dunk and Shane Duffy were impressive, dealing with the aerial threat effectively. The full-backs Gaetan Bong and Martin Montoya held their own and they stifled Cardiff well. Even in the preamble to the goal, they prevented the first couple of attempts, which included a goalline block from Dunk. But Cardiff threw in one punch too many, and Brighton finally succumbed.
Can Cardiff turn a corner?
This was a morale-boosting win for the Bluebirds, and it elevated them to 16th place, albeit for the time being. Utilising this morale and stringing a couple of results would do them a world of good.
Cardiff face only one of the top six until January, and Warnock will be hopeful of picking up some points in the next games. Their next five opponents are Everton, Wolves, West Ham, Southampton, and Watford. Relatively favourable, so to speak. The clubs at the bottom are facing a tremendous dearth of points and getting wins are even more crucial this season for the likes of Cardiff. Numerous positives can be taken from this game, and hopefully, for Cardiff, they will increase in the following weeks.