Dale Stephens netted his third goal in four games as Brighton & Hove Albion extended their record unbeaten start to the season to ten games.
- Albion extend lead at top of the Championship to two points
- Seagulls extend unbeaten record to ten games
- Dale Stephens hits third goal in four games to earn Albion point
- Joe Mason gave Cardiff early lead
The in-form midfielder netted shortly before half-time to cancel out Cardiff’s shock opener – but for the third game running, Chris Hughton’s men would have returned to the dressing room frustrated at not having a greater return for their efforts.
Indeed, Albion dominated for long spells of the game but came up against a keeper in top form. Step forward Simon Moore, who almost single-handedly kept the visitors in the game.
He certainly made the most of his chance, having replaced the suspended David Marshall, and his first-half performance in particular went a long way to securing a point.
Albion went into the game with Jamie Murphy missing through suspension and Kazenga LuaLua injured, so Solly March came into the side to bring some width to the left flank.
Lewis Dunk and Tomer Hemed also returned to the starting line-up but before the side had time to settle, Cardiff took the lead.
Scott Malone found himself in space down the left and his teasing low cross was met by Joe Mason, who ghosted in to net with just five minutes on the clock.
It was the first time Albion had fallen behind this season but they responded well with consecutive corners, the second resulting in Sam Baldock trying his luck with a half-volley from Dunk’s knock-down.
Baldock’s lively start came continued when he latched on superbly to a long pass from Stephens, but Moore was equal to his effort, and then kept out Liam Rosenior’s close-range follow-up.
Moore was proving to be Albion’s nemesis, again keeping out Baldock following good work from Beram Kayal.
Albion, while frustrated, continued to turn the screw and deservedly got back on level terms in the 38thminute when Kayal’s cross from the right was met by Stephens, whose deft cushioned volley beat Moore at his far post.
Hemed crashed a close-range effort into the side netting following further good work from Baldock, and then flashed a header across the face of goal shortly before half-time.
The Seagulls continued on the front foot after the break with Kayal testing Moore with a low volley from the edge of the box.
Baldock again came close with a glancing header before Fabio, already on a yellow card, pulled down March – but referee Charles Breakspear refused to send off the former Manchester United full-back.
It was proving to be a frustrating afternoon for Baldock, who stretched to reach a low March cross, only for the ball to flash wide of Moore’s upright.
Aside from Cardiff’s opener, it really was one-way traffic with March seeing his low drive blocked on the line, and then Rosenior was left punching the floor in frustration as his header sailed over.
Bobby Zamora came on for Hemed and he set up Albion’s next foray, bursting forward to release March. The winger’s cross then found Rosenior on the edge of the six yard box, but his effort was blocked.
As the game started to open up, Dunk cleared an effort off the line from Cardiff sub Sammy Ameobi, while a jinking run from March resulted in the winger claiming a penalty under a challenge from Sean Morrison. Breakspear waved play-on.
With the game entering injury time, Albion missed a golden opportunity to take all three points with both Elvis Manu, then Gordon Greer failing to connect with a Stephens cross – a chance which typified Albion's luck on the day.
CARDIFF CITY LOTTERY RESULTS1901 CLUB LOTTERY£1000 JACKPOT
£100 SUPERSTORE VOUCHER
MAGNUM OF CHAMPAGNE
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ALBION HAT-TRICK1ST £500:
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