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Player Ratings – Cardiff City 4, Birmingham City 2

Player Ratings – Cardiff City 4, Birmingham City 2

Neil Etheridge

Big saves to keep Cardiff in the game early on and overall produced a big performance. The Bluebirds have three quality goalkeepers in Etheridge, Smithies and Day. I’m still not certain who should one number one 6

Lee Peltier

The most natural defender in Cardiff’s team. Solid, dependable right-back. Doesn’t get forward too much, but sticks to his task for 90 minutes and has a big role for Bluebirds 7

Curtis Nelson

His full Cardiff City League debut. Has made his Bluebirds breakthrough after learning his trade with Plymouth and Oxford. Competent, composed, scored a goal and had another effort disallowed 8

Aden Flint

Solid, reliable central defender. Was a big help to Nelson, who took over from injured Sean Morrison alongside him. Gives 100 per cent, loaves to block shots and caused problems when he went forward for set pieces 7

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Joe Bennett

Birmingham seemed to target Cardiff’s left-back and he was under pressure early on. But, as always, Bennett stuck to his task and won his battles over the 90 minutes 6

Leandro Bacuna

If City are to build a play-offs challenge the talented Bacuna will be a key player. He is capable of lighting up midfield and that’s exactly what he did. Getting back to his best 7

Marlon Pack

I could scream watching Cardiff’s midfield enforcer. There is so much more to come from a man capable of taking this team by the scruff of the neck and drive them forward. Big, strong and highly influential, but, believe me, he is going to improve. Was captain with Sean Morrison out injured 6

Joe Ralls – Man of the Match

Way to go Joe! Hat-trick hero. I’ve known Rallsy since he first signed for City getting on for a decade ago. Full of energy, a box-to-box midfield player who shines in the Championship. Personally, I love watching Joe play – and some of the criticism I’ve read and heard about him is ridiculous. He has been playing while injured 8

Nathaniel Mendez-Laing

When ML is in this sort of mood he can tear opposing full-backs apart. Power, pace and passion  – he has it all. With a little more consistency he could be a major player, particularly at Championship level 8

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Danny Ward

Sent off after 52 minutes. What was he thinking? Okay, it was a poor first touch and Ward was keen to retain possession, but launching into a two-footed challenge was far from the reaction needed. The referee’s decision to show red was easy to make – and I can’t imagine there will be an appeal against suspension 4

Junior Hoilett

The winger is far from 100 per cent fit, but he plays a vital role for the Bluebirds and was keen to play. Went close to scoring and produced some big moments out wide 7

Substitutes

Will Vaulks

Not used

Josh Murphy

See Also

Not used

Alex Smithies (gk)

Not used

Callum Paterson

For Mendez-Laing 80

Lee Tomlin

Not used

Sol Bamba

For Nelson 85

Omar Bogle

For Hoilett 85

Birmingham City: Camp, Pedersen, Roberts, Colin, Crowley (Bailey 80), Jutkiewicz, Dean, Villalba, Mrabti (Maghoma 65), Bellingham (Giménez 69), Šunjić. Subs not used: Trueman, Harding, Clarke-Saltere, Davis.

Referee: Andy Madley

Attendance: 23,778

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