By James Lloyd at the Cardiff City Stadium
Anthony Pilkington’s cool, driven finish proved enough as Cardiff clawed their way back from an early setback to beat Wolves 2-1 at the Cardiff City Stadium.
Matt Doherty had put the Midlands outfit ahead with a curling effort but full-back Matthew Connolly levelled early in the second-half, before Pilkington stole all three points in the 85th minute, to end the Bluebirds’ three game winless patch.
Cardiff were turgid in the first-half and looked notably poor going forward. But an inspired half-time change from Neil Warnock saw Craig Noone and the surprisingly impressive Kenneth Zohore come on, as they gave City the added quality that lacked in the opening period.
But it was Wolves who made the dream start as they sailed into an early lead through full-back Doherty.
Bluebirds goalkeeper Ben Amos was at fault, though, after he failed to palm away his swooping effort.
Connolly had brought down Nouha Sakho in the build-up, as Ivan Cavaleiro caught Cardiff off-guard with a quick free-kick to Doherty who took care of the rest.
Cardiff slowly showed signs of settling into things as they went in search of an equaliser.
Captain Sean Morrison went close with a header from a Whittingham cross, before a series of chances went astray. First, Lex Immers failed to connect with a header, whilst Aron Gunnarsson met an orange wall as his shot was well blocked.
After the break, Cardiff hooked off Immers and Kieran Richardson – who had been very ominous – and turned to Noone and Zohore. The former brought a new lease of life to the Bluebirds who were playing with more fluidity and dynamism, and soon forced Harry Burgoyne in the Wolves net into his first save of the game.
Noone dipped his way past a number of defenders before launching a curling shot across goal which was smartly parried away by the Wolves ‘keeper.
Minutes later Zohore saw an acrobatic effort fizz narrowly over the crossbar, before Noone again looked to curl one into the far corner.
And in the 68th minute Cardiff had their reward. A dubious decision from referee Andrew Madley to award a home corner, have Whittingham the opportunity to whip a teasing ball, which was met by Connolly to did enough to put the ball in.
But Wolves went in hunt of biting back quickly, and they nearly did just that when George Saville had close-range effort superbly saved by Amos.
Pilkington was on hand to bag the three points, as he dribbled into a pocket of space before launching a fierce effort past Burgoyne.
Cardiff City: Amos 5; Connolly 6, Morrison 6, Manga 6, Peltier 5; Hoilett 6, Whittingham 6 (Ralls 88, 5), Gunnarsson 6, Richardson 4 (Noone 45, 7); Immers 4 (Zohore 45, 6), Pilkington 7
Subs unused: Wilson, Bennett, Lambert, Harris,
Wolves: Burgoyne 6; Iorfa 5, Batth 6, Stearman 7, Doherty 7; Edwards 6, Saville 6, Saiss 6; Costa 5 (Teixeira 45, 5), Cavaleiro 6 (Enobakhare 65, 5) Dicko 6 (Bodvarsson 75, 5)
Subs unused: Flatt, Coady, Price, Hause