Cardiff City lost their unbeaten Championship record to Hull on Tuesday night, with goals from Mohamed Diame and Abel Hernandez securing the points for the visitors.
The game began brightly for the Bluebirds, with Lee Peltier and Anthony Pilkington linking up down the right which lead to Peltier’s deflected cross looping over the face of McGregor’s goal, but Kenwyne Jones couldn’t quite reach it to put City in front. However, they were made to pay three minutes later when a blocked Hull cross found the feet of Diame who, in acres of space, lashed home a half-volley past the helpless Marshall to put the visitors ahead.
Cardiff responded well, playing the ball long to Jones who began to have some success against the Hull back three. Their positivity lead to a chance for the big Trinidadian halfway through the period. A clearance found him in the left channel, and while he managed to cut inside Curtis Davis after a strong run, his powerful shot went straight at McGregor who was able to beat it to safety.
Continuing to push forward, Russell Slade’s men were denied a penalty on two occassions. Joe Mason was caught after skillfully creating some space in the Hull area, however he looked to go down softly and his claim was waved away by referee Chris Sarginson. Immediately afterwards however, a Hull high foot in the area near the head of Jones again went unpunished, prompting screams of disbelief from the Cardiff faithful that only amplified when Fabio was booked seconds later.
Cardiff continued to send men forward in numbers after the break, but Hull began to show menace on the break; in particular the pace of Sone Aluko began to cause problems, Tom Huddlestone firing a warning shot wide from 25 yards after good work from the Nigerian international.
As the game began to open up, Cardiff bombarded the Hull area with aerial balls, looking to capitalise on the height and power of Jones. However the Hull City defenders began to adapt, frequently winning the aerial duels that had led to Cardiff chances in the first half. Despite having much of the possession and territory, they struggled to work McGregor in the Hull goal and even the introduction of Sammy Ameobi failed to make an impact, the Newcastle loanee unable to recreate his sparkling debut performance against a staunch Hull defence.
As time began to wind down, the Bluebirds impatiently began to force their passes and started to give the ball away more. Aluko again demonstrated his pace, breaking away after an errant pass but eventually shooting wide after ignoring his support. He made no mistake a minute later, threading a beautiful pass to Sam Clucas only for David Marshall to rush out and deny the midfielder with a fine save on the edge of the area.
But there was to be no third let off for Cardiff, and another misplaced ball saw Diame collect it in space and chip a perfectly weighted ball over the flat-footed City defence for the onrushing Abel Hernandez to finish past Marshall, and send the Yorkshire side home with all three points.