FULL TIME: BARNSLEY 0 CARDIFF 1

BARNSLEY were pipped 1-0 at home by play-off contenders Cardiff City thanks to a 69th minute Lawrence goal..

Cardiff’s McNaughton made an early burst down the Reds right, but as the cross fell to Scottish international hit-man Miller, he couldn’t get a shot away.

Miller looked to have played an inch-perfect through-ball to Cowie, but thankfully he was adjudged marginally offside.

Perkins got away with a mere talking-to from Mr Eltringham after he slid in with a late tackle on Cowie.

The Reds were in need of some inspiration, and when Button’s regulation clearance went all the way through to his opposite number Marshall, that summed up a miserable opening quarter-of-an-hour.

The first half-chance fell to Cardiff, but Button was alert to stop Hudson’s deflected shot after Cowie’s corner-kick wasn’t cleared.

Finally the Reds found a spark and grafter Nouble powered through the middle before teeing up Tonge whose well-struck shot flew just a couple of feet wide.

Seconds later Noble-Lazarus tried to muscle his way through before seeing a powerful shot blocked by centre-back Turner.

The Reds suddenly had the bit between their teeth , but despite working hard to earn a couple of corner-kicks, ultimately they came to nothing.

Hill’s battlers did come close in the 24th minute.

The industrious O’Brien found Nouble down the Cardiff left, and the loan striker cheekily lifted the ball over the dumbfounded McNaughton before lashing in an angled shot that Marshall could only gather at the second attempt.

The Reds were now on top and looking for that all-important breakthrough.

Just past the half-hour mark the visitors appeared to have weathered their mini-storm after an impressive Reds spell, and they almost broke the deadlock.

And it was a simply-worked setpiece routine as Turner came up from the back to head Lawrence’s corner-kick narrowly wide.

Two minutes later Cardiff almost profited from a defensive error as Gunnarsson pounced on Wiseman’s mis-directed header, but thankfully his shot was comfortably saved by Button.

As half-time approached the Reds grabbed the initiative once again and in terms of possession they dominated, but too often the final pass or cross into the danger zone was lacking.

It remained goalless at the interval, but with third-bottom Coventry losing at Burnley, the Reds could at least take heart for a - hopefully – more enterprising showing in the second period.

HALF-TIME

Barnsley.............. 0

Cardiff................ 0

There was almost a mighty shock for the Reds just seconds into the second half.

Straight from the restart Cardiff charged towards the heart of the Barnsley defence and as Miller and Cowie played a superbly-weighted one-two, the former unleashed a driven shot which Button had to be alert to save.

It was definitely a wake-up call for the hosts, and one which they reacted well to.

The effective O’Brien again found space down the Cardiff right and crossed for Nouble who headed narrowly over the top.

The ineffective Noble-Lazarus was replaced by Cotterill as Barnsley boss Hill tried an alternative approach, but it wasn’t long before Cardiff were to fire themselves into a shock lead in the 69th minute.

It was a well-worked effort too, as Taylor ended up whipping a super cross into the far post for LAWRENCE who stooped to head the ball back home across the stunned Button.

It was something of a sickener for the Reds having bossed large parts of the game, but Cardiff were visibly lifted and came close to a second goal soon after – twice.

Both efforts came from dangerous Whittingham corner-kicks as firstly the brave Hudson dived in, only to see his header diverted just wide.

From the second flag kick fellow defender Turner somehow scooped a shot over the crossbar from barely a couple of yards out.

Hill made a double switch in a further attempt to pep up his forward line as Davies and Gray entered the fray, but time was rapidly running out.