Coventry City suffered their 12th Championship defeat of the season at the hands of a resurgent Cardiff City.
Poor defending allowed the Bluebirds to take a two goal lead into the break with Kieffer Moore scoring twice in the space of seven minutes at the Cardiff City Stadium – his first a well-worked move and his second a gift from a long throw into the box which City twice failed to clear.
And it was game over barely a minute into the second half when Josh Murphy, architect of his side’s opener, fired across the keeper to make it 3-0 before Dom Hyam scored a late consolation goal.
It was a far cry from the start of the game when City knocked the ball about well from the back and controlled all the early possession against the home side who seemed content to soak up the pressure and play on the counter attack.
And it took a foul by Leo Ostigard to gift Cardiff their first chance of the game from a free-kick, which resulted in a flicked on free kick falling to centre-half Aden Flint at the back post where he slotted home from an off-side position, with the linesman ruling out the goal with his flag.
For all Coventry’s build-up play, chances were few and far between in a pretty tight first 30 minutes when a well organised Cardiff were difficult to break down.
But the Bluebirds broke the deadlock on the half hour mark when Josh Murphy won the deep in his own half and played Kieffer Moore in behind down the left. And as Leo Ostigard slid in to commit himself, the in-form striker cut inside onto his right foot and beat Marko Marosi with a well placed shot at the near post to give Cardiff the lead.
Mick McCarthy’s men then doubled their lead before the break, this time from a long throw into the box which Marosi attempted to punch clear, claiming he’d been fouled in the process, sending the ball spinning into the six yard box where Michael Rose couldn’t clear before Moore side footed home with gift of a finish.
It really was shocking defending from the Sky Blues who continued to look vulnerable from set-pieces.
Callum O’Hare and Gus Hamer fired wide of the target as City attempted to reduce the deficit before half-time.
But Cardiff pretty much secured the full three points in the first minute of the second period when Murphy raced onto a quickly taken free kick just outside the box and placed his shot across Marosi and inside the far post.
City sparked into life with Ostigard heading onto the post from a McCallum free-kick and Max Biamou firing wide from a drilled in ball from O’Hare but the home side held firm.
Tyler Walker was thrown on for Hamer and Kyle McFadzean replaced Ostigard on the hour as City continued to push for a goal, Julien Dacosta being denied by the foot of the keeper.
And it finally came nine minutes from time from Dom Hyam after McFadzean had knocked down a Matty James’ free-kick and the defender lifted the ball into the roof of the net.
But for all City’s second half endeavour, they were well beaten on the day.
STARTING FORMATION: (3-4-2-1)
MARKO MAROSI: 5.5
Beaten at his near post for Moore’s opener and failed to punch clear a long throw for the second, albeit a suspicion of a foul on the keeper amid a crowd of players. Well beaten by Murphy for the third.
MICHAEL ROSE: 5.5
Defended well early on but will be disappointed not to have done better to clear before Moore struck home his second.
LEO OSTIGARD: 5.5
Good in the air and strong in the challenge, the centre-back stood up well before Kieffer Moore got the better of him for the opening goal. Went closest to scoring when he rattled the cross bar from a free-kick.
DOM HYAM: 6
Made a confident start, winning all of his headers and making some good tackles but conceded the foul for the third when he should have stood over the ball to prevent the quick free-kick being taken. Nice finish for City’s consolation goal.
JULIEN DACOSTA: 6.5
Ventured forward well from the off but not effective enough in the first half. Made more of an impact when City were chasing the game, being denied by a decent save by the keeper but it was a case of too little too late.
GUS HAMER: 6
Constantly looked to find a killer pass to spark an opening and had a couple of pops at goal himself, albeit well wide of the target in a frustrating first half. Replaced on the hour.
MATTY JAMES: 6
Linked up nicely with Hamer and played some neat and tidy passes to help get City forward on a difficult afternoon.
SAM McCALLUM: 6
Got forward well early on and competed well. Sent in a decent set piece for City’s best chance when Ostigard headed onto the bar.
CALLUM O’HARE: 6
As lively as ever, chasing and buzzing about in and around the box but unable to create much innthe first half. More effectiove in the second but constantly fouled with very little protection from the referee.
JAMIE ALLEN: 6
Busy and hard working on a difficult afternoon.
MAX BIAMOU: 6
Led the line well and help the ball up nicely as City attempted to build attacks but never had a sniff of goal in the first 45 minutes. Couldn’t quite steer a powerful ball in on target in the second half.
TYLER WALKER (59 mins, for Hamer): 6
Displayed good movement as City went to two up top as City chased the game, linking up nicely with Biamou.
KYLE McFADZEAN (59 mins, for Ostigard): 6
Helped keep things steady at the back to prevent any more mishaps at the back and had a hand Hyam’s late goal.
VIKTOR GYOKERES (78 mins, for Biamou):
JORDAN SHIPLEY (78 mins, for McCalum):
Subs (not used): Ben Wilson (GK), Ben Sheaf, Josh Pask, Amadou Bakayoko, Will Bapaga.
CARDIIF CITY (3-4-1-2): Dillon Phillips; Sean Morrison, Aden Flint, Curtis Nelson; Perry Ng, Will Vaulks, Marlon Pack, Joe Bennett; Harry Wilson; Josh Murphy (72 mins, for Leandro Bacuna), Kieffer Moore.
Subs (not used): George Ratcliffe (GK), Ciaron Brown, Joel Bagan, Tom Sang, Ruben Col Will, Mark Harris, Isaak Davies, Max Watters.
BLUEBIRDS: Moore (31, 38), Murphy (46)
SKY BLUES: Hyam (81)
REFEREE: James Linington
NEXT UP: Norwich City (St Andrew’s), Wednesday, February 17 (7pm).
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