Cardiff 1-0 Birmingham City: Aston Villa loanee Jaden Philogene shoots down West Midlands rivals to hand John Eustace his first loss since taking charge at St Andrews
- Aston Villa loanee Jaden Philogene fires winner against Birmingham for Cardiff
- Cardiff move up to third temporarily with two wins from first three games
- Birmingham City lose first game of the season despite being better side
- Bluebirds pick up four yellow cards during Championship fixture in Wales
Jaden Philogene, loaned from the Blues’ bitter rivals a fortnight ago, struck in the 17th minute to secure three points his Cardiff side emphatically deserved.
If anything, the final score flattered the visitors who, apart from a purple patch early in the second half, never looked like leaving the Welsh capital with their unbeaten run intact after three league outings.
Aston Villa loanee Jaden Philogene scored the winning goal for Cardiff against Birmingham
Eustace, the former Queens park Rangers and Republic of Ireland assistant, must have been bitterly disappointed with how passive the Blues were for long spells.
But for his counterpart Cardiff boss Steve Morison, this was a hugely encouraging performance and the perfect response to a 2-1 defeat at Reading a week ago and a dismal 0-3 midweek Carabou Cup reverse to League One Portsmouth.
CARDIFF CITY: Allsop, Romeo, Collins, Kipre, Ng, Wintle ©, Sawyers (Colwill 63), Rinomhota, O’Dowda (Ojo 82), Philogene (Etete 63) Watters (M Harris 45)
BOOKED: Trusty, Colin, James, Hogan and Ojo
BIRMINGHAM CITY: Ruddy, Colin, Roberts (Williams 55), Trusty, Bacuna (Leko 76), Deeney © (Jutkiewicz 71), Hogan, Placheta, James, Sanderson, Chang (Hall 76).
REFEREE: Darren Bond
The former Millwall and Wales striker will have been mightily pleased to see his side produce the sort of hard-working, quality display that suggests they may be involved in matters at the right end of the table following the stagnation since Neil Warnock’s departure in 2019.
The first half must have been something fairly close to the sort of energetic passing football Morison has been publicly aspiring to produce.
The home side were snappy and eager, first to the majority of loose balls and pressed admirably all over the pitch in the searing heat.
Captain Ryan Wintle controlled the tempo and pattern in the middle of midfield and wide man Callum O’Dowda was a constant threat down the right flank.
The Bluebirds were given sight of goal early on with Wintle and his central midfield partner Romaine Sawyers both dragging shots wide from good positions on the edge of the penalty area.
When the breakthrough came, it was no surprise – and what a well-worked breakthrough it was.
Wintle fed O’Dowda with a slide rule pass through the right-hand channel and the Irish winger, who joined from Bristol City this summer, delivered a measured low cross for Philogene to gleefully side-foot home.
Cardiff continued to dominate, but on the half-hour mark the visitors should have been level. Scott Hogan, Birmingham’s foil for Troy Deeney up front, was sent clean through but dithered horribly to allow Bluebirds defender Jamilu Collins to prod the ball away from his feet before Hogan could even shoot.
It looked like Eustace’s side would be punished for that wastefulness five minutes before the interval when Cardiff striker Max Watters was himself sent straight through on goal only for his tame effort to be diverted wide by the leg of Blues goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Jaden Philogene (centre) scores the only goal of the game as Cardiff beat Birmingham City
Aston Villa loanee Philogene (left) celebrates his scoring goal with his Cardiff teammates
If Birmingham finished the first half hanging onto their opponents shirt-tails, they were a side transformed after the restart.
While O’Dowda twice had sight of goal for Cardiff and saw shots blocked in the early second half exchanges, the away side finally gained a foothold with some strong possession and greater urgency in everything they did.
In the 51st minute the travelling supporters were incensed when referee Darren Bond booked Hogan for diving instead of awarding a penalty following a challenge by Cardiff centre-back Cedric Kipre.
TV replays suggested they had a point. Kipre looked fortunate to escape a clear block with no contact on the ball.
The loss to Cardiff was Birmingham manager John Eustace’s first since taking over at the club
Yet for all that Birmingham revived it was Cardiff who finished the stronger.
Referee Bond evened things out when he waved away what again looked a clear penalty when Birmingham midfielder Jordan James brought down O’Dowda, and in the 78th minute striker Kion Etete, signed from Tottenham last week, missed a close range header from a Rubin Colwill cross that he should have buried with ease.
Birmingham pressed to nick an equaliser in the six minutes of injury time, but it never came