By Daniel Heard
Cardiff City suffered their first defeat of the season against an in-form QPR side in front of their own fans. Former City captain Steven Caulker put the away side ahead with quarter of an hour to go, before Tjaronn Chery converted from the spot after being fouled by Bruno Manga.
Cardiff began the first half with a real intent following their opening day draw away to Birmingham. Full backs Jazz Richards and Declan John were lively throughout the opening exchanges, their pace and drive providing numerous balls in for Lex Immers and Frederic Gounongbe, still looking for his first goal in a City shirt. On quarter of an hour, an in-swinging Peter Whittingham corner was headed away from danger by Karl Henry, before down the other end Massimo Luongo had an effort blocked well by Manga.
Matt Connolly saw an effort from distance stopped by a resilient away defence, after good work in the middle from Joe Ralls and Immers, before Gounongbe nearly got on the end of a floating Whittingham free-kick. The big number 9 was then inches under a great ball in from Richards as the home side began dominating play as half time approached.
QPR began brightly in the second half, as substitute Yeni Ngbakoto put a great ball through for Chery, but it proved too quick and rolled harmlessly wide. Anthony Pilkington beat Nedum Onuoha to send a low effort in, leaving Jake Bidwell to scramble clear. Gounongbe then profited from a deflected Ralls’ strike, only to be forced out of play. The tide was about to turn against the home side though.
Ngbakoto sent a free-kick to the far post, which was duly met by the head of Caulker, who beat David Marshall, but not the goal line. The former Swansea defender then ruffled the side netting as Cardiff began to feel the pressure the away side were piling on. Chery was hauled down in the box clumsily by Connolly, only for the linesman to flag offside before the foul was committed. Some respite was provided in the introduction of new signing Emyr Huws, brought in from Wigan Athletic, for his home debut, replacing the frustrated Gounongbe.
Seconds later, Cardiff were behind. A ball in from Bidwell was inch-perfect for Caulker, who nodded past Marshall to send the travelling fans crazy. Cardiff, shell-shocked, responded by throwing on Craig Noone and Kenneth Zohore, only for Sebastian Polter to be fouled by Manga minutes from time. The referee pointed to the spot, and Chery stepped up to smash the visitors into a two goal lead. Cardiff host bottom side Blackburn Rovers on Wednesday night, still searching for their first win of the campaign.
CARDIFF: Marshall (5), Richards (7), Connolly (6), Manga (5), Peltier (5), John (7), Ralls (6), Whittingham (5), Immers (6), Pilkington (6), Gounongbe (5) STAR MAN Jazz Richards
SUBS: Huws (5), Zohore (5), Noone (5) NOT USED: Moore, Morrison, Ajayi, Gunnarsson
QPR: Smithies, Bidwell, Onuoha, Caulker, Hall, Henry, Gladwin, Luongo, Chery, Cousins, Polter
SUBS: Ngbakoto, Washington, Perch NOT USED: Ingram, El Khayati, Shodipo, Kpekawa