Robins edge Cardiff in thriller

Martyn Woolford bagged a brace and Sam Baldock came off the bench to score a debut goal as Bristol City beat Cardiff 4-2 at Ashton Gate.

Last Updated: 25/08/12 at 15:29

Woolford: Scored twice for Robins

Woolford: Scored twice for Robins

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Derek McInnes' side fired four past Crystal Palace in midweek and delighted the home faithful once more with the help of some generous Cardiff defending.

Midfielder Stephen Pearson opened the scoring before Woolford took his personal tally to three goals in two games.

Cardiff kept the game in the balance as Joe Mason and Heidar Helguson responded in kind each time Woolford found the net, but on-loan West Ham forward Baldock rounded off a lively cameo to ensure the Robins sat top of the Championship table ahead of today's three o'clock kick-offs.

Mark Wilson came into the Bristol City defence, with Richard Foster dropping to the bench where new signings Steven Davies and Baldock were named.

Matthew Connolly and Tommy Smith went straight into the Cardiff line-up following their moves from QPR this week, but there was no place for Craig Bellamy or Ben Turner in Malky Mackay's matchday squad.

The visitors were the brighter side in the opening exchanges, with Jordon Mutch to the fore and fellow midfielder Peter Whittingham produced a rasping 13th-minute drive to draw a fine save from former Bluebirds loanee Tom Heaton in the Bristol City goal.

The Robins' first clear opening came in the 25th minute when Ryan Taylor headed a cross from strike partner Jon Stead into the side netting and the latter had a hand when they took the lead.

Shortly after the half hour Cardiff needlessly ceded possession and Stead made them pay - feeding Albert Adomah, whose low cross left Pearson with a simple finish.

Cardiff almost found an immediate response when Aron Gunnarsson headed against the bar from Whittingham's corner before Heaton punched to safety.

But Bristol City doubled their advantage ahead of half-time. Stead was involved once more, playing in Woolford as the Cardiff defence was again found wanting.

Following some presumably unpleasant half-time discussions, Mackay's men came back into the contest in the 57th minute.

A Whittingham corner again caused problems and substitute Mason was on hand to convert Helguson's flick on.

McInnes introduced Baldock in place of Stead after 64 minutes and he was immediately at the heart of more confusion in the Cardiff defence - firing a shot past the post at the end of an attack that began when a clearance was drilled into his back.

Moments after Whittingham drove wide on the angle, Bristol City's two-goal cushion was restored. The lively Baldock found space inside the area to rattle the upright and Woolford tucked away the rebound.

Cardiff hit back for a second time in fortuitous circumstances when full-back Kevin McNaughton scuffed a shot into the path of Helguson and the ex-Watford and QPR striker prodded home his second of the season from close range.

But as the Bluebirds pushed for an equaliser they were left badly exposed at the back, and three minutes from time Greg Cunningham's through ball allowed Baldock to round goalkeeper David Marshall and seal the points.

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