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Mackay seething as Bluebirds are put under Posh cosh in a seven-goal thriller.

Byline: STEVE TUCKER

STEVE TUCKER at London Road PETERBROUGH CARDIFF CITY 4BOYD 21 MCCAAN 24, 87 (pen) TAYLOR 90 3COWIE 6 WHITTINGHAM 61 GUNNARSSON 79 Jones, Little, Bennett, Zakuani, Alcock (Taylor 82), Frecklington (Tunnicliffe 76), McCann, Boyd, Rowe, Sinclair, Tomlin. Subs not used: Lewis, Ball, Thompson.

Marshall, McNaughton, 16), Earnshaw (Conway 65). Subs not used: Heaton, Gerrard.

Attendance: 6,351 Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham) C ARDIFF CITY have had previous experience of the calamities that can befall you upon taking the lead at Peterborough.

Two seasons ago the Bluebirds had a four-goal half-time lead at London Road before being pegged back in an asS tonishing draw.

This encounter proved just as thrilling, but even more costly and controversial with manager Malky Mackay striding onto the pitch at the final whistle to speak to officials.

The irate Cardiff boss had seen his side lead twice, first via Don Cowie's first-half opener and then when Aron Gunnarsson swept home 11 minutes from time.

But Darren Ferguson's Posh proved a tough proposition to shake off, equalising via George Boyd.

They then took the lead through a great free-kick from skipper Grant McCann which was cancelled out just after the hour by an equally impressive set-piece from Peter Whittingham.

But after Cardiff took the lead through Gunnarsson, the Bluebirds were undone by a controversial penalty with just three minutes left.

Referee Nigel Miller adjudged McCann's ferocious shot had been handled by Kevin McNaughton, although the Cardiff full-back seemed to know little about it, and the Peterborough skipper stroked home from 12 yards.

Then, to add insult to injury, two minutes into added time, substitute Paul Taylor slipped through to earn Posh all three points and consign the Bluebirds to their third league defeat of the season, which drops them to 12th in the Championship table.

From the very off this was a firecracker of a game.

Within five minutes Whittingham was charged with heading an Emile Sinclair header off the line, setting a pattern of any ball into the Bluebirds' box, irrespective of quality, getting alarm bells ringing.

The first order of business though was for Cardiff to take the lead and it had eerie similarities with the opener against Ipswich on Saturday.

Gunnarsson launched a long throw and young French striker Rudy Gestede made a nuisance of himself in the six-yard box.

Peterborough did manage to half-clear but it fell to Cowie on the half-volley to curl it sweetly into the corner with the outside of his right boot.

Cardiff looked relatively poised at this stage, going forward anyway, but were rocked with little more than a quarter of an hour gone when Gestede limped off.

The youngster had to be helped down the tunnel, a sad sight when you consider he has only just got back from injury, and young Joe Mason entered the fray.

It seemed to upset the Bluebirds' balance and, after Gabriel Zakuani set a warning header wide of the post on 20 minutes, it was less than 60 seconds later that the hosts were level.

It was a high ball into the box again that did for Mackay's side, a corner this time from which, in a congested penalty area, Ryan Bennett was allowed to head down and Boyd swept home.

The Bluebirds barely had time to regroup before they were behind to a real beauty from McCann.

Cowie fouled Boyd 20 yards out from the Cardiff goal in a central position and, from the free-kick, McCann lifted it up and over the wall and into the top corner. David Marshall, in the Bluebirds' goal, did not stand a chance.

The shell-shocked Bluebirds went forward themselves with Robert Earnshaw, who had been relatively quiet again, saw his curling 25-yard free-kick pushed way with relative ease by Paul Jones in the home goal.

At the other end Lee Tomlin was allowed to go an awful long way before seeing his chip from the edge of the box snatched from the air by Marshall.

Five minutes before the break Cardiff came incredibly close to getting back on terms when Andrew Taylor's cross was met by Earnshaw but the ball bounced off a post.

The Welsh international was onto the rebound but Jones was across well to push it round the post.

The second half proved as exciting as the first with a lot more promise from a Bluebirds perspective.

Cardiff were very much on the front foot and the defence looking a bit tighter, even if things were to go very awry at the end.

The equaliser was as sweet a free-kick as the one which had given Peterborough the lead when, on 61 minutes, Boyd fouled Gunnarsson.

This time it was dead-ball specialist Whittingham, from 20 yards, who lifted it up and over the wall to perfection.

Five minutes later the excellent Whittingham almost put Cardiff from McNaughton's cross.

Whittingham's low shot was destined for the corner until Jones got down well to save.

But the Bluebirds were soon ahead with a lovely goal, Taylor crossing superbly and Gunnarsson slipping in at the near post to drive home.

It looked like it might be enough for Cardiff's second away win of the season, but disaster was lying ahead.

If the Bluebirds had benefited from a debatable penalty against Ipswich, they were on the receiving end here.

McNaughton appeared unable to get out of the way more than anything as McCann's shot cannoned into him.

Mackay's misery was complete when substitute Taylor surged through and rolled the ball past the advancing Marshall.

It was all over for the Bluebirds bar the shouting - which seemed to be come from Mackay and his players on the pitch - as there was to be no 4-4 scoreline this time.

CAPTION(S):

* Aron Gunnarsson fires in Cardiff City's third goal at London Road last night - but Posh had the last laugh with two late strikes to snatch victory PICTURE: Huw Evans Agency
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Date:Oct 19, 2011
Words:988
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