Craig Bellamy stepped off the bench to inspire Cardiff City to victory over Leeds United.
The Wales international converted a brilliant free-kick to open the scoring two minutes after taking to the field and help extend United’s poor record away to Cardiff.
Leeds have not won in the Welsh capital since 1984 and although they competed strongly in the first half they were beginning to struggle under pressure by the time Bellamy struck.
And Peter Whittingham’s penalty three minutes later put the result beyond doubt on a frustrating afternoon for Neil Warnock and his players.
Rodolph Austin pulled a goal back with time running out but United could not force an equaliser.
After a goalless first 45 minutes, Cardiff almost snatched the lead at the start of the second half when Nicky Maynard met a loose ball with a volley which Paddy Kenny claimed low down.
United were then fortunate to see Jordan Mutch curl a shot inches wide of Kenny’s left-hand post and a Peter Whittingham effort deflected away from goal after Craig Noone burst inside from the right wing.
Leeds tried to respond and Luke Varney’s cross almost reached half-time substitute El-Hadji Diouf at the back post, only for Kevin McNaughton to stick a foot out and clear the ball to safety, but Tommy Smith should have broken the deadlock on 63 minutes when he flashed a volley over the crossbar.
City threw on Bellamy moments later and he made an immediate impact on 68 minutes, lashing a sensational finish into the top corner of Kenny’s net.
United’s problems deepened three minutes later when Tom Lees fouled Nicky Maynard inside the box, leaving Whittingham to dispatch a confident penalty, and although Austin reduced their lead with a long range free-kick, the hosts held out.
Lee Peltier came closest to stealing a point but headed Austin’s cross over the bar from eight yards.
Leeds United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury, Byram, Austin, Tonge, White, McCormack, Becchio. Subs: Ashdown, Brown, Gray, Varney, Kisnorbo, Diouf, Poleon.
Cardiff City: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Connolly, Smith, Whittingham, Mutch, Noone, Helguson, Maynard. Subs: Lewis, Cowie, Kim, Gunnarsson, Mason, Nugent, Bellamy.
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