Cardiff 1-0 Birmingham City: Aston Villa loanee Jaden Philogene topples West Midlands rivals to hand John Eustace his first defeat since taking charge at St Andrews
- Aston Villa loan Jaden Philogene shoots winner against Birmingham for Cardiff
- Cardiff move up to third place temporarily with two wins from the first three games
- Birmingham City lose the first game of the season despite being the better team
- The Bluebirds receive four yellow cards during the Championship match in Wales
Birmingham City experienced their first defeat under new manager John Eustace at Cardiff City Stadium, and it was an Aston Villa player who dealt the killing blow.
Jaden Philogene, on loan from the Blues’ bitter rivals a fortnight ago, scored in the 17th minute to secure three points that his Cardiff side emphatically deserved.
If anything, the final scoreboard flattered the visitors who, apart from a purple stain early in the second half, never seemed keen to leave the Welsh capital with their unbeaten run intact after three league outings.
CARDIFF CITY: Allsop, Romeo, Collins, Kipre, Ng, Wintle ©, Sawyers (Colwill 63), Rinomhota, O’Dowda (Eye 82), Philogene (Etete 63) Watters (M Harris 45)
RESERVED: Trusty, Colin, James, Hogan and Ojo
BIRMINGHAM CITY: Ruddy, Colin, Roberts (Williams 55), Trusty, Bacuna (Leko 76), Deeney © (Jutkiewicz 71), Hogan, Placheta, James, Sanderson, Chang (Hall 76).
REFEREE: Darren Bond
Eustace, a former Queens Park Rangers and Republic of Ireland assistant, must have been bitterly disappointed with how passive the Blues were over long periods.
But for his counterpart, Cardiff boss Steve Morison, this was a highly encouraging performance and the perfect response to a 2-1 loss at Reading a week ago and a dismal midweek 0-3 loss in the Carabou Cup to League One Portsmouth.
The former Millwall and Wales striker will be very pleased to see his team produce the kind of display of quality and hard work that suggests they may be involved in matters on the far right of the table following the stalemate since Neil Warnock’s departure in 2019. .
The first half must have been something pretty close to the kind of brisk-passing football that Morison has been publicly aspiring to produce.
The home team were nimble and eager, first on most fumbles and pressed admirably up and down the pitch in the blazing heat.
Captain Ryan Wintle controlled the pace and pattern in midfield and full-back Callum O’Dowda was a constant threat down the right flank.
The Bluebirds saw the goal early on with Wintle and his midfield partner Romaine Sawyers both dragging deflected shots from good positions on the edge of the penalty area.
When the trailer came, it was no surprise, and it was a well-crafted trailer.
Wintle fed O’Dowda a slide rule pass through the right channel and the Irish winger, who joined from Bristol City this summer, delivered a measured low cross for Philogene to gleefully finish off with his side foot.
Cardiff continued to dominate, but after half an hour the visitors should have been level. Scott Hogan, Birmingham’s complement to Troy Deeney up front, was sent clean but faltered horribly to allow Bluebirds defender Jamilu Collins to push the ball away from his feet before Hogan could even shoot.
It looked like Eustace’s side would be punished for such profligacy five minutes before half-time when Cardiff’s own striker Max Watters was sent straight into goal only to have his tame effort deflected by the leg of Blues goalkeeper John Rudy.
Jaden Philogene (centre) scores the only goal of the match as Cardiff beat Birmingham City
Aston Villa loan Philogene (left) celebrates his goal with his Cardiff team mates
If Birmingham ended the first half hanging by their opponents’ shirttails, they were a transformed team after the restart.
While O’Dowda saw Cardiff’s goal twice and saw shots blocked in the first few exchanges of the second half, the away team eventually took hold with strong possession and a heightened urgency in everything they did.
In the 51st minute, traveling fans were enraged when Hogan was booked by referee Darren Bond for diving rather than awarding a penalty after a tackle by Cardiff centre-back Cedric Kipre.
Television replays suggested they were right. Kipre seemed lucky to escape a clear block without ball contact.
However, despite all that Birmingham relived, it was Cardiff that finished stronger.
Referee Bond evened things up when he disallowed what again looked like a clear penalty as Birmingham midfielder Jordan James brought down O’Dowda, and in the 78th minute striker Kion Etete, signed from Tottenham last week, missed a header past Rubin Colwill’s point blank range. cross that he should have buried with ease.
Birmingham pressed for an equalizer six minutes into injury time, but it never came.