A Welshman killed off Cardiff City hopes in their Premier League home match against Burnley.
The Bluebirds produced their most effective team performance of the season and at times dominated against the Lancastrians, but Wales international Sam Vokes headed the goal which left captain Sean Morrison and his team down and out.
The excellent Josh Murphy had fired up the atmosphere at Cardiff City Stadium with a magnificent equaliser.
The visitors had gone ahead against the run of play soon after half-time when the Bluebirds produced their best passing move of the match.
Spanish midfield player Victor Camarasa, City’s man of the match, slid a beautifully weighted pass to send Bruno Manga chasing down the right in a rare foray into Burnley territory.
Manga’s composure and awareness when he cut in towards goal was immaculate and he pulled the ball back and picked out the run of Murphy.
Cardiff’s £12m signing from Norwich finished with clinical style, sweeping his shot wide of goalkeeper Joe Hart and into the corner.
At that stage Burnley were reeling, home fans were ecstatic and the Bluebirds looked capable of going on to win this match.
There were plenty of positive signs in this display, but the defeat is damaging with fixtures against Spurs and Liverpool, both away, coming up in the next three matches.
Murphy looks dangerous and clearly loves life in the top tier, while Camarasa has the quality needed in midfield.
Callum Paterson was outstanding in his attacking midfield role. Cardiff’s direct style of play suits Paterson in that position and he did well in that role before moving out wide when manager Neil Warnock made changes
Danny Ward and Gary Madine were sent on with City desperate to find a way through a Burnley team sitting deep and looking after their lead.
This was a game Cardiff badly needed to win and in many ways they should have come out on top.
Murphy hit a post, headed into Burnley’s goal only for the effort to be ruled out for a foul earlier in the move and Paterson saw a header cleared off the line. Goalkeeper Hart made a magnificent low save from Kenneth Zohore.
At half-time the shot count was 10-1 in favour of Cardiff, while soon after the break City earned a seventh corner to Burnley’s one.
By the end Cardiff had outshot the away team 19-3 with five on target. The earned 10 corners to Burnley’s two and had 63 per cent of possession.
Indeed, Burnley goalkeeper Hart was named man of the match by Sky Sports, which underlines that Cardiff did put the England international under pressure.
How, though, can they turn promise into points.
It is also true that Cardiff are the lowest team in Premier League stats for just about everything – shots, goals, passes and more.
The first half against Burnley also set a record for the lowest number of passes by two teams at Premier level so far this season.
There is no question that the Bluebirds have all the hunger, desire and spirit needed to maintain the fight to stay at the top level, but they look a ten in trouble right now.
That certainly doesn’t mean they don’t have hope. City fought with heart and courage, but they need a break. A touch of luck.
They were without Junior Hoilett, who is ill, but can still reflect with satisfaction on their overall performance, but the result is devastating.
Burnley produced two moments of quality to win the match, but the Bluebirds had such passion, such pride.
The first half was goalless and City went in disappointed they weren’t in front.
Then Johan Berg Gudmundsson put the visitors ahead when Ashley Westwood whipped in a cross from the left and the Burnley man out jumped Greg Cunningham to send a header through the narrowest of gaps and into goal.
Gudmundsson was climbing all over Cunningham to stop him jumped and might have been penalised, while goalkeeper Neil Etheridge will probably look back at the goal and feel he had a chance to keep the ball out.
It skipped past his feet in a flash and that goal deflated Warnock’s men.
The equaliser was an absolute beauty on 61 minutes when Murphy showing his quality in a finish which left Hart helpless, but then came that Vokes’ winner.
The Welshman’s goal came in his 100th Premier League appearance and is his first of the season.
City through themselves at Burnley and Murphy went close with a curling, dipping shot which Hart tipped over at full strength, but the day finished on a low note and now Warnock must prepare his team to take on Spurs at Wembley Stadium.