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Cardiff stretch lead

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07 Dec 2012 22:16:58

Cardiff stretch lead

Cardiff stormed to a four-point lead at the top of the npower Championship with a 4-1 win that leaves Blackburn's own promotion ambitions in a sorry state.

Captain Mark Hudson headed the visitors into a 30th minute lead from Craig Noone's cross while Craig Bellamy struck the crossbar towards the end of a first half where Blackburn produced a woeful 45 minutes.

On-loan Manchester United forward Josh King brought Rovers level in the 51st minute, only for Bellamy to restore Cardiff's advantage four minutes later. Substitutes Joe Mason and Kim Bo-kyung completed Blackburn's misery.

It left Henning Berg to survey a fourth defeat from eight games in charge that leaves his side 15 points behind the leaders after 21 games and, perhaps more significantly, four shy of the play-off places ahead of the weekend fixtures.

Berg recalled Dickson Etuhu in midfield and Markus Olsson on the left wing, while Noone returned from suspension for Cardiff to relegate Kim to the bench and Don Cowie came into midfield for Jordon Mutch, who served a ban of his own.

Cowie carelessly ceded possession in the fifth minute, allowing Jordan Rhodes to send King racing towards goal before Ben Turner blocked his shot. Rovers left-back Martin Olsson had to be alert at the back post to intervene when opposite number Andrew Taylor speared in a low ball inviting Heidar Helguson to prod home.

Following Jason Lowe's yellow-card challenge on Bellamy in the 29th minute, Peter Whittingham punted the resulting free-kick hopefully forward, but Rovers could only clear as far as Noone and his left-footed delivery from the right was planted past Paul Robinson by Hudson.

Kazim-Richards was introduced for Markus Olsson as Berg looked to spark fresh impetus at the break and the change proved to be inspired. The Turkey international controlled a Rhodes' flick on and released King to slot under onrushing Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall.

No sooner had Blackburn briefly assumed the ascendancy than they were behind once more. A hopeful free-kick was not dealt with and Bellamy finished emphatically after cleverly exchanging headers with Helguson. In the 63rd minute Mauro Formica blazed over from close range to crush Rovers' hopes of another equaliser.

Bellamy's replacement Mason made the points safe six minutes from time, catching Grant Hanley flat-footed to slip Helguson's header on beyond Robinson. Fellow replacement Kim then got in on the act, sweeping home Helguson's return ball after capitalising on a terrible pass from Scott Dann that served to sum up Blackburn's evening.


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