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Joe Rothwell grabs winner for 10-man Blackburn over struggling Cardiff

Cardiff City v Blackburn Rovers – Sky Bet Championship – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Galloway)

Joe Rothwell’s third goal of the season was enough to guide Blackburn to a 1-0 victory over struggling Cardiff and move them closer to the automatic promotion places.

With league leaders Bournemouth going down 3-2 at Luton it made it an even better day for Tony Mowbray’s side, who went down to 10 men when Ryan Nyambe picked up a second yellow card in the 76th minute.

The Championship clash at Cardiff City Stadium lacked fans due to the Welsh Government’s COVID restrictions.

When the two teams met in September, Rovers ran out 5-1 winners and headed to the Welsh capital on the back of an eight-match unbeaten league run during which they plundered 21 out of a possible 23 points.

That run pushed them into third place behind Bournemouth and Fulham, while the Bluebirds were looking for their first league win since 27 November and their first at home since three weeks earlier than that.

Cardiff opened promisingly and Curtis Nelson put a header just over the bar from an eighth minute corner. Mark Harris then used his pace to get to the goal line and send over a cross that was inches away from James Collins on the edge of the six-yard box and a possible opening goal.

Goals have been hard to come by for the Bluebirds at home this season with only nine in 11 games before the visit of Blackburn and the first one on the day went to the visitors.

Rothwell picked up on the edge of the centre circle in the Cardiff half in the 13th minute and it proved to be unlucky for the home side. The Blackburn stalwart drove hard at retreating centre half Aden Flint and then curled his shot inside the right post from 25 yards.

Welsh international midfielder Will Vaulks saw a volley from just outside the box at a corner cleared off the line by Lewis Travis to once again deny Cardiff.

Cardiff pressed higher in the second half and enjoyed more of the ball. Skipper Joe Ralls drove on his side and it was his corner from the left that almost led to an equaliser in the 69th minute.

Nelson was up from the back and hit the target with a bullet header from the edge of the six-yard box. It looked destined for the left corner, but Thomas Kaminski dived to his right to pull off a great save under pressure from James Collins.

Substitute Isaak Davies then hit the post with a cross from wide on the right.

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