Leeds United pay penalty at Cardiff

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LEEDS United failed to improve their awful record in Wales when they went down to a 2-1 defeat at Cardiff.

Second half goals from Craig Bellamy and Peter Whittingham condemned the Whites to defeat and although Rodolph Austin pulled a goal back United were still left without a win in Cardiff since 1984.

To add to Leeds’ misery they also lost their former Cardiff striker Ross McCormack in the first five minutes as he was forced to limp off with ankle injury that could sideline him for weeks.

Leeds boss Neil Warnock included his new loan signing, Michael Tonge, in a central midfield role with David Norris injured and chose youngsters Sam Byram and Aidan White in the wide midfield roles, dropping Luke Varney and El Hadji Diouf.

Varney came into the action, however, in the sixth minute following McCormack’s injury, which came after a tackle by Jordan Mutch.

Goalmouth action was at a premium in the first half with Paddy Kenny only called upon to easily save a long distance strike by Heidar Helguson and United not really testing home keeper David Marshall.

Leeds looked to add to their attacking game at the start of the second period with Diouf brought on for Adam Drury and White dropping to left-back. But it was Cardiff who fashioned chances when Kenny denied Nicky Maynard and Mutch shot wide.

Tommy Smith should have put the hosts ahead, but volleyed over from close range. Kenny then saved well from Mark Hudson ‘s header.

Cardiff did finally break the deadlock on 66 minutes when Bellamy, within three minutes of coming on as substitute, powered home an angled free-kick from the edge of the box after Michael Tonge was adjudged to have fouled Maynard.

Five minutes later it was 2-0 as another decision went against the Whites with Tom Lees giving away a penalty for a foul on Maynard and Whittingham coolly put away the spot kick.

To their credit, United fought back and pulled a goal back from another set piece, Austin giving Marshall no chance with a long range free-kick.

Suddenly Leeds were creating chances and they almost pulled a point out of the fire as Marshall did well to clear a White cross with Luciano Becchio and Varney ready to pounce.

Kenny saved well from Smith’s low shot, but United went close again when Lee Peltier met Austin’s cross only to head a good chance over. With that went the Whites’ last chance and they were to travel home disappointed again from Cardiff.

Match facts

Cardiff City 2

(Bellamy 66, Whittingham 71, pen)

Leeds United 1

(Austin 76)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Npower Championship

Cardiff: Marshall, Taylor, McNaughton, Connolly, Hudson, Whittingham, Mutch (Gunnarsson 75), Noone (Bellamy 63), Smith, Maynard (Cowie 81), Helguson.

United: Kenny, Peltier, Lees, Pearce, Drury (Diouf 46), Byram, Tonge, Austin, White, McCormack (Varney 6, Poleon 83), Becchio.

Referee: P Tierney

Att: 23,836.