Alex Smithies

I remain mystified why Smithies didn’t get the call when Neil Warnock was in charge. That’s nothing against Neil Etheridge, who is a first rate goalkeeper at Championship level. For me, though, Smithies is the more rounded goalkeeper. Solid and safe on an afternoon when he was never over-stretched 7

Dion Sanderson – Man of the Match

This kid is Championship gold dust. A third successive appearance at full-back and clearly he is growing in confidence and loving the experience. Jazz Richards will have to be patient – Sanderson could be in the starting line-up for the long haul 8

Sean Morrison (capt)

Captain Fantastic ‘Mozza’ is the right man to lead this Bluebirds team. A leader and organiser who does the business in both penalty areas. He is also a calming influence alongside Curtis Nelson, a young defender with great potential 8

Curtis Nelson

Quick, decisive and quickly learning his trade at Championship level. I’d bet he will come back stronger and better next season. Could be a big player over the next couple of seasons for City 7

Joe Bennett

This was among his best personal performances of the season. Defended pretty well and was eager to link up in attack and fire in crosses. Top job 7

Will Vaulks

Mentally strong, physically powerful and a man who knows his role in midfield. Loves to wind-up the opposition verbally – not in a nasty way, of course – and looks an intimidating presence. Also scored Cardiff’s first goal. I hope Ryan Giggs is taking notice 7

Joe Ralls

Welcome back Rallsy. A third appearance since recovering from injury and has not yet completed 90 minutes, but his progress is clear. He’ll soon be back to his energetic, combative best 7

Leandro Bacuna

It’s good to see Bacuna operating in his favourite midfield role. I worry when he is switches to full-back, but he was back at the heart of things against Barnsley. Far from his best performance this season, but, like Hoilett, played his part in a solid team display 7

Albert Adomah

Has been a shining light since joining the Bluebirds from Nottingham Forest in January. His Championship experience is crucial and he helps those around him. Gave Barnsley a tough time over the 90 minutes 7

Callum Paterson

When Paterson is good, he’s great. This was one of those matches. Got stuck in, won his headers and scored a big goal. Barnsley have some big defenders and Paterson threw himself into the task at centre-forward 8

Junior Hoilett

The Canadian winger adds balance and trickery out wide. Wasn’t at his best, but did enough to help Cardiff emerge triumphant. There were moments when he showed flashes of real quality 7

Subs

Neil Etheridge (gk)

Not used

Marlon Pack (for Ralls 80)

Robert Glatzel (for Paterson 87)

Josh Murphy (for Hoilett 84)

Aden Flint

Not used

Gavin Whyte

Not used

Brad Smith

Not used

Barnsley: Collins, Sollbauer, Halme, B Williams, Ludewig, Ritzmaier, Mowatt (capt), Thomas, Woodrow, Chaplin (Schmidt 83), Brown (Simoes 70). Subs not used: Walton, J.Williams, Dougall, Andersen, Bahre.

Referee: James Linington

Attendance: 12,751