Bluebirds back to winning ways
Joe Ralls’ penalty earned second-placed Cardiff City a narrow victory over Middlesbrough at The Riverside.
Adama Traore brought Nathaniel Mendez-Laing down in the box six minutes after coming on as a substitute.
Traore was returning to the squad after missing Boro’s game with Barnsley because he arrived late for the team bus.
Boro, 11th in the table, have now gone six games without keeping a clean sheet.
Cardiff’s Danny Ward was inches away from sliding the ball in from Joe Bennett’s early cross, while Britt Assombalonga shot wide from distance for Boro.
Defender Fabio provided attacking impetus for the hosts, but his sorties came to nothing against his former club in a goalless opening period.
A poor Sol Bamba back pass put Cardiff under pressure, although goalkeeper Neil Etheridge salvaged the situation.
Bamba was denied as he tried to turn in a shot, before he headed away Stewart Downing’s shot at the other end.
Ward whizzed a shot past a post, but Traore’s foul allowed Ralls to send goalkeeper Darren Randolph the wrong way.
Middlesbrough manager Garry Monk:
“It’s clearly a frustrating period. We knew going into the game it wasn’t going to be one with a lot of chances because of the way Cardiff set up, so we knew we were going to have to show patience.
“We were in the ascendency and if anyone was going to win, it looked like us, so it was a really harsh result. But that’s the period we’re in.
“We understand the fans’ frustration, but what’s very clear is that we stick together. It’s easy to lose focus on what the players have done really well, even today there were a lot of good things.”
Cardiff City boss Neil Warnock said:
“I thought we were super today. We looked like we knew what we were doing and I thought we created some good chances.
“All credit to Wardy (Danny Ward), I thought he did absolutely great for us. I didn’t see Joe Ralls take the penalty – I never look.
“I just looked at their fans because if they jumped up cheering I know he will have missed it. I just can’t stand looking at penalties.”