Reds 1 (Mellis 76)
Cardiff 2 (Nugent 22, Gunnarsson 51)
Barnsley fought hard and almost claimed a deserved point against Cardiff but the Bluebirds held on with some fantastic gamesmanship earning them all the points. The Reds would have more than likely got something out of the clash had their defending not been so sloppy from two set-pieces.
The Reds’ first chance fell to Jonathan Greening, making his debut after his loan switch from Forest, but he volleyed wide from a Cardiff clearance. On five minutes some lovely one-touch passes were exchanged with Golbourne and Mellis down the left before a pullback to Davies was thumped over by the Welsh international.
With 14 minutes played Steele carried out a routine save as he gobbled up a deflected Helguson effort but the Bluebirds went closer several minutes later when Mason forced the Reds’ number one into a proper save to his right after turning Wiseman inside out.
From the resulting corner, Cardiff scored. A corner was whipped in and no Barnsley shirt got near Nugent who just nodded home from three yards on 22 minutes.
Barnsley responded positively and a delightful cross to the back post was sliced wide by Dawson who, in fairness, saw the ball late a minute before the half-hour mark.
Mackay’s side were already slowing the game down with Marshall and Noone taking their time when the ball was out of play.
A minute before the break Davies was sent away down the left by a smart Tudgay header but Marshall did well to parry his low effort out for a corner.
Just before the end of the half, Tudgay found himself one-on-one with Marshall from a quickly taken free-kick but headed wide despite having all the time in the world eight yards out.
Three minutes into the second half Jacob Mellis took matters into his own hands as he surged down the left-hand side and smashed low at goal from 18 yards but Marshall dealt with it well off the wet surface. A minute later it should have been 2-0 but for a spectacular save from Luke Steele – proving why he is one of the best goalkeepers in the country, never mind the Championship. After Cranie was robbed down the left, Helguson seemed to have the goal at his mercy but somehow Steele sprawled out to the left and turned wide.
The second goal did arrive for City when Aron Gunnarsson at the far post and he simply nodded into the top corner from five yards – again the marking was non-existent.
Davies, who along with Steele was one of Barnsley’s best performers on the day, fired in a delicious cross that no Reds shirt wanted to get on the end of just past the hour. By this time Buzsaky was thrown on for his debut and Noble-Lazarus injected some much-needed energy into the wide areas.
Marshall was looking confident in gobbling up strikes off the turf as again he denied Mellis whilst at the other end Gestede rifled a thunderous drive at goal but Steele parried well on 68 minutes.
Eight minutes later, the Reds finally got their breakthrough and it was Jacob Mellis at the far post. Wiseman’s cross wasn’t properly dealt with and the former Chelsea man swept home into the far corner.
The Reds’ push for an equaliser was helped by Simon Lappin’s red card after the defender hauled down a lively Noble-Lazarus down the City left but two penalty appeals were turned down by the referee. Barnsley huffed and puffed but Cardiff did well to keep the ball in the corner for a good minute and ticked away the time to three points.
Reds: Steele, Wiseman, Golbourne, McNulty, Cranie, Done (Noble-Lazarus 57), Greening, Mellis, Dawson (Buzsaky 57), Tudgay (Sinclair 81), Davies.
Subs: Lidakevicius, O'Brien, Foster, Stones.
Cardiff City: Marshall, Hudson, Whittingham, Connolly, Kim, Noone, Gunnarsson (Mutch 70), Mason (Bellamy 75), Helguson (Gestede 61), Lappin (s/o 87), Nugent.
Subs: Lewis, Conway, Ralls, John.
Referee: Dean Whitestone
Assistant Referees: Simeon Lucas & Gary Hilton
Fourth Official: Paul Thompson