Cardiff City 0-1 Blackburn Rovers: Ten-man visitors defeat Bluebirds thanks to Joe Rothwell goal

Cardiff City were defeated by 10-man Blackburn Rovers thanks to a first-half goal from Joe Rothwell.

The Bluebirds’ leaking defense proved costly once again as Rothwell netted in the first half, while once again their lack of stinger emerged at the top end of the field.

The hosts launched a late attack at the end, with Ryan Nyambe sent off for two bookable fouls, but the myriad balls in the penalty area ultimately yielded nothing.

This means that the Welsh side have now lost nine of their last 10 home matches, a solid statistic that supports their position in the league at the moment.

The big team news for the hosts was that Leeds United’s on-loan Cody Dramay got his first start, while Ryan Wintel fell in the middle after returning from Blackpool in an attempt to add some control in the middle.

Despite Rovers’ position in the league, Cardiff has arguably started better from both sides. They saw a lot of the ball and kept the opponent silent.

However, one chance is all it takes to get City off the ground, something they have been used to this season.

Barely a quarter of an hour passed before Rothwell picked up the ball in the middle of the field and started running through the City defence.

Unchallenged, with the defenders backing off, the midfielder drove 20 yards past the City goal before starting his shot off the post, only to see it slip past Smithies and settle into the bottom corner.

It was a huge blow to Cardiff, whose bubble of momentum burst almost instantly.

To their credit, however, the hosts dragged themselves off the board and took control of the rest of the half.

They built steadily across the lines and managed to reach dangerous positions, but they struggled to turn acquisitions and land into meaningful opportunities.

There were chances, but the best of them seemed to come from the set pieces. Will Foulkes hit a fine shot from 25 yards after a corner kick, but Lewis Travis pushed it off the line before the net swelled.

The rest were small chances, but they were enough to offer encouragement. Cardiff finished the half with 63 percent of possession, highlighting their dominance.

The second half was slow, but Cardiff still had plenty of possession and tried to take chances when they could.

Once again, though, Cardiff was looking more dangerous than the set pieces. Ralls’ left foot proved to be a threat to Rovers’ defense and one of his trademark corners presented Curtis Nelson with a golden opportunity. The defender sent a shot towards the bottom corner midway through the second half, but Thomas Kaminski made an excellent save to keep Rovers ahead.

There was an opening for Citi in the last 15 minutes. Nyambe was shown a second yellow after a massive challenge on Perry Ng, having been booked after pushing the same player into a melee 15 minutes earlier.

Cardiff brought in players like Isaac Davies and Robin Colwell to try to exploit the gaps and get the equaliser.

Davies looked brilliant and fired a number of dangerous passes from the right, but no man from City could get to the end of it. With five minutes left, Ralls put in a menacing ball from the other side that was met by Mark McGuinness, but Kaminsky cleverly saved his low shot again.

Try as much as possible, though, and that elusive tie escaped them. For all their good work, there was a distinct lack of quality or killer instinct in the final third.

An issue that must certainly be addressed in the second half of this winter transfer window.

Cardiff City XI: Smithies; Ng, McGuinness; Flint, Nelson, Dramatic (Colwell 78); Wintel, Volks (66 bundle), Ralls; Collins, Harris (Davis 66).

subs: Phillips, Morrison, Pagan, Sang.

Blackburn Rovers XI: Kaminsky; Nyambe, Linehan, Van Heck, Wharton, Edon; Travis, Rothwell, Buckley; Brereton Diaz (Ayala 78), Khadra (Gallagher 65)

subs: Beers, Rankin Costello, Johnson, Davenport, Butterworth

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