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Cardiff City battled out a hard-fought 1-0 win over West Bromich Albion in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.
Both sides came into the game short of form, resulting in a scrappy first half which lacked chances at the Cardiff City Stadium. The hosts seized the initiative after the break and took the lead through Peter Whittingham's header from a fine cross by Craig Noone, who was making his first Barclays Premier League start.
Cardiff made three changes from last week's defeat at Crystal Palace, including the recall of Peter Odemwingie against his former club, while West Brom reinstated Jonas Olsson and Shane Long to their side.
After Boaz Myhill tipped Whittingham's free-kick away, Gary Medel lashed an effort over the crossbar as the home side settled into the game quickly, however neither goalkeeper was fully tested. Steven Caulker slashed wide from close range after Olsson failed to deal with a corner, while the defender had to be alert to deny Gareth McAuley from Chris Brunt's swirling set-piece.
The heavens opened during half-time, making conditions tricky, but the Bluebirds began the second period strongly and Odemwingie blasted over as the West Midlands side dithered on the edge of their own box. The visitors had a superb chance to score in the 56th minute as Morgan Amalfitano squared to Claudio Yacob, whose mis-hit fell kindly for McAuley, but the Northern Ireland defender was denied on the line by a combination of Medel and goalkeeper David Marshall.
Malky Mackay’s side broke the deadlock on 65 minutes, Noone swinging a great ball in from the right and Whittingham directing his header beyond Myhill.
West Brom substitutes Scott Sinclair and Saido Berahino combined well out wide with the latter's cross somehow evading his team-mates in the box. Steve Clarke’s side threatened again soon after, McAuley heading across the face of goal, before Marshall rescued the result with a magnificent reaction save to keep out Long's firm header.
The win moves Malkay’s side four points clear of the relegation zone, and above West Brom.
Cardiff manager Malky Mackay: "It was an important win for us against a team who are around about us in the league. A clean sheet and a real good performance. I said to the boys at half-time to just have patience and grind them down, and we deserve it on the balance of play."
West Brom head coach Steve Clarke: "It's been a frustrating couple of weeks. I don't think the performance was so bad that we deserved to lose the game but at the moment that's the run we're in. Over the course of the game we created enough chances to score. At the moment, when we defend well, like we did today, we still concede the goal which came from nowhere, really. Sometimes when you're in a bad moment these things happen. We're all hurting but the only solution is to work harder."
|01 Jan 2014||v Arsenal (A)|
|28 Dec 2013||v Sunderland (H)|
|29 Mar 2014||v West Brom (A)|
|01 Feb 2014||v Norwich (H)|
|19 Apr 2014||v Stoke (H)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Southampton (H)|