Cardiff manager Mick McCarthy praised the impact of his new short-term signing Marley Watkins after he scored twice on his Bluebirds debut in a 3-2 win over Sutton.
Watkins’ brace came either side of half-time and helped Cardiff turn the tables after they fell behind to the League Two new boys – who were playing in the Carabao Cup for the first time.
Cardiff confirmed Wales cap Watkins – who left Bristol City in the summer and has been on trial in the Welsh capital – had signed a deal until the end of August before kick-off.
McCarthy said: “Sutton had nothing to lose and everything to gain. The only thing we could get credit for is winning the game by hook or by crook and that’s what we did.
“Their goalkeeper will be kicking himself for Marley’s first goal but he’s done himself no harm with those two goals. He’s on a short-term contract for now, but he did really well.”
Sutton got off to a dream start and went ahead in just the fourth minute.
Goalkeeper Dean Bouzanis launched a clearance downfield and David Ajiboye raced clear down the right wing. Donovan Wilson was the man in the middle to slot home.
Kenny Davis and Harry Beautyman came close to making it 2-0 for Sutton and their missed chances proved crucial.
Watkins equalised before the break when Bouzanis flapped at his weak effort and he made it 2-1 at the start of the second half with a cool 20-yard finish.
Cardiff substitute Josh Murphy made it 3-1 before Coby Rowe grabbed a late Sutton consolation.
Sutton boss Matt Gray said: “I was very pleased with the first-half performance up until their goal.
“The timing of Cardiff’s first goal killed us because I thought we deserved to go into half-time ahead.
“I’m disappointed with two defeats so far this season, but we have got attacking threats in the team.”
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