Cardiff 1, Norwich City 0

DAVID CUFFLEY A goal from Paul Parry in only the third minute was enough to give promotion-chasing Cardiff City victory over the Canaries at Ninian Park this afternoon. It was a taste of the early Bluebirds catching the worm when Parry fired past Tony Warner after latching on to a clearance from Andy Hughes.

DAVID CUFFLEY

A goal from Paul Parry in only the third minute was enough to give promotion-chasing Cardiff City victory over the Canaries at Ninian Park this afternoon.

It was a taste of the early Bluebirds catching the worm when Parry fired past Tony Warner after latching on to a clearance from Andy Hughes.

Peter Whittingham came close to stretching Cardiff's lead before the break and only in the closing stages did City seriously threaten an equaliser when home keeper Neil Alexander saved twice in the space of a minute from Simon Lappin and then substitute Dion Dublin.


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Darren Huckerby had the ball in the net in time added on at the end of the game but his effort was ruled out for offside.

The Canaries finished the game more brightly but overall their eighth match in three and a half weeks seemed to be taking its toll.Skipper Adam Drury recovered from a bout of sickness to return to the City starting line-up against Cardiff.

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With Drury back in the side at left back, Simon Lappin moved into midfield and Mark Fotheringham was the odd man out from the 11 who started Tuesday's 2-1 defeat by Derby.

Goalkeeper Paul Gallacher, out of the 16 for the last two matches, was among the substitutes with on-loan Tony Warner making his third appearance in goal, against one of his former clubs.

Fotheringham, Jurgen Colin, Dion Dublin and Paul McVeigh were the other substitutes, so there was no place for Luke Chadwick or Chris Brown, both of whom have returned to training.

Cardiff, just outside the top six places in the Championship, were unchanged from the team that lost 1-0 at Birmingham last Sunday.

City kicked off in bright sunshine but it was the home side who had the first attempt on goal in less than a minute with McPhail firing high over Warner's goal.

Cardiff pushed forward again and Ledley crossed from the left towards skipper Scimeca, but his header was over the top.

But the home crowd were soon celebrating when Parry gave Cardiff the lead in only the third minute. Chopra played the ball into the Norwich area where Hughes attempted to knock it clear left footed, but it fell kindly for Parry to hook it straight back past Warner for the opening goal.

As City went in search of a quick equaliser, Safri found Martin and the 18-year-old fired narrowly over the top.

There was a fairly lively atmosphere inside Ninian Park and that early goal was just what the home crowd needed to get them right behind their side.

The Canaries attacked down the left and Lappin played a one-two with Drury before crossing to the far post, where Croft attempted to hook the ball back but Whittingham was able to clear.

With nine minutes gone, Cardiff won the first corner of the afternoon and Parry took an in-swinging kick which young striker Martin got back to head clear.

At the other end, Martin was unhappy after taking a knock in a challenge by Johnson but no foul was given and Martin took up his complaint with referee Salisbury but to no avail.

The official then stopped play briefly to talk to Safri after awarding Cardiff a free-kick on halfway.

As the hosts pushed forward again, there were half-hearted appeals for handball when Whittingham's shot was blocked by Shackell but these seemed rather optimistic.

With more than quarter of an hour gone, City had done little to trouble Alexander or the Cardiff defence and most of the play was in the Canaries half.

As Scimeca took a quick free-kick, he found Parry who tested Warner with a low drive from outside the area.

Parry was lively in the early stages of the contest and when he crossed from the right, Chopra just failed to control the ball at the near post when he might have done better.

With 20 minutes gone, City had a half chance to get on terms when Lappin crossed from the left, Martin challenged Loovens and Croft, following up, fired past the far post.

City started to get men forward but one opportunity was squandered when Croft found Hughes and his centre drifted out of play behind Alexander's goal.

Drury was shown the yellow card for dissent midway through the half when he complained about a corner awarded to Cardiff and after Shackell was adjudged to have got the final touch to a long ball from the Cardiff left.

But the home side wasted that flag kick and another one soon afterwards as they continued to have the lion's share of the play.

Martin was unhappy again after a challenge from Loovens and initially dropped to his knees in the Cardiff half and when he was back on his feet, the referee had another word with the young striker.

It was a rather scruffy contest up to now and City's passing was fairly ragged at times, which meant that Huckerby and Martin, playing up front in a 4-4-2 formation, had very little joy at this stage.

There was a hint of an opening when Huckerby crossed from the left but his centre was just out of reach of Martin.

Drury came to Norwich's rescue when Chopra and Thompson attempted a one-two and the skipper darted back to hammer the ball clear.

Hughes was unhappy when a Cardiff free-kick was awarded against him on the edge of the Norwich area but it didn't matter as Whittingham wasted the dead ball opportunity.

Cardiff came very close to stretching their lead after 34 minutes when Whittingham carved himself an opening and the keeper did extremely well to divert his powerful shot over the bar. As the resulting corner came in, Johnson got in a header and it was Hughes who managed to head clear.

Norwich, who had been brushing up their dead ball routines in recent weeks, had another opportunity nine minutes before the break but Safri's free-kick was headed away by Johnson.

Cardiff won a free-kick midway into the City half when Shackell fouled Chopra but this time Whittingham's kick was headed away by Etuhu.

Shackell rescued Norwich again with a timely challenge on Chopra after Hughes had lost possession to Thompson on the halfway line.

Huckerby was not having a happy afternoon so far and was penalised for a foul after appearing to get the better of McNaughton.

A miss-kick by Croft enabled Cardiff to push forward again through Chopra, but his final ball was a disappointment and City could breathe again.

As the first half entered stoppage time, Safri tried to find Martin but he was crowded out and it rather summed up an unproductive half for the Canaries.

Half-time: Cardiff City 1, Norwich City 0.

City went on the attack from the restart and Martin was just unable to control Drury's through ball as it slipped away from him for a goal kick.

Chopra needed treatment three minutes into the half after Etuhu got back to rob him on the edge of the Norwich area. But he was soon up on his feet and able to continue much to the approval of the home crowd.

Etuhu got back a minute later to make another important challenge on Parry, who had got the better of Drury and moved into a threatening position.

There was more frustration for City when Etuhu rose to meet Huckerby's cross but the whole move was dragged back because the referee had awarded a foul throw.

City boss Grant did not wait long to make his first change of the afternoon when Dublin was sent on in place Croft. The veteran joined Martin in attack with Huckerby now operating wide on the right.

But it was Cardiff who threatened next after 56 minutes when McPhail crossed from the left and Thompson produced a firm header, but straight at Warner.

Cardiff were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position on the left of the Norwich area when Hughes impeded McNaughton. Huckerby was shown the yellow card for dissent while Cardiff waited to take the kick, which was played to Chopra, but his ball across the penalty area failed to find a team-mate and the opportunity was gone.

On the hour Dublin got in the action but his header from Lappin's cross was a harmless one and looped up for Alexander to catch very comfortably.

Cardiff still looked more threatening than their visitors and Thompson produced a neat shot on the turn but Warner was right behind it.

As the hosts broke again, Whittingham spoiled one opening when his cross from the left was too strong for Chopra.

At the other end, Huckerby broke, cutting inside to fire in a left foot shot but it lacked power and Alexander gathered it easily.

Hughes, overlapping on the right, moved onto Huckerby's pass to deliver another cross aimed at Martin but Loovens was able to guide the ball back to Alexander.

Midway through the half, Safri went down in need of attention after a challenge from Whittingham, which earned the Cardiff man a yellow card.

City gave the home defence a rare moment of anxiety when Lappin found Martin with a neat through ball, but Martin flashed a left foot shot just past the post.

Doherty joined the attack, getting in a header from Safri's free-kick but it was anther easy catch for Alexander.

As Cardiff counterattacked, Parry set up Thompson for a snapshot which Warner did well to hold.

Norwich broke through Huckerby, who was upended on the edge of the Cardiff area by Scimeca, earning the home skipper a yellow card.

From the resulting free-kick, Safri ran over the ball and Lappin curled in a left footer which Alexander, leaping to his left, had to tip over the top.

The home keeper was suddenly a busy man and a minute later, he made another excellent save, palming Dublin's header over the bar following a cross by Huckerby.

As Cardiff tried again to extend their lead, Chopra had a shot blocked by Doherty and blazed well wide at the second attempt.

Cardiff made a change with 15 minutes to go when Byrne was sent on in place of Thompson, and joined Chopra in attack.

Loovens came to his goalkeeper's assistance with 10 minutes left when Alexander failed to hold a cross from Drury while under pressure from Dublin and it was left to the big defender to knock the ball clear.

Cardiff boss Jones made another change with nine minutes to go when goal scorer Parry was replaced by Gunter.

Gunter soon felt the force of a challenge from Etuhu when the City midfielder sent him tumbling on the touchline, conceding a free-kick in the process and it was Gunter who fired over the top seconds later when City struggled to clear following the dead ball kick.

Still the Canaries had a chance to salvage a point and Martin, shielding the ball well, knocked it back for Safri to fire wide from just outside the area.

As the minutes ticked away, Cardiff managed to take the ball towards the right hand corner flag and start the usual time wasting tactics employed by a team with a one goal lead.

There was a certain amount of annoyance among the home fans when the fourth official signalled that four additional minutes would have to be played.

In time added on, City's travelling fans briefly thought they were celebrating an equaliser when Huckerby moved on to Dublin's pass and poked a shot past Alexander but the linesman was flagging for offside, a decision that seemed to anger Grant as he argued with the fourth official.

Result: Cardiff City 1, Norwich City 0.

As Cardiff tried again to extend their lead, Chopra had a shot blocked by Doherty and blazed well wide at the second attempt.

Cardiff made a change with 15 minutes to go when Byrne was sent on in place of Thompson, and joined Chopra in attack.

Loovens came to his goalkeeper's assistance with 10 minutes left when Alexander failed to hold a cross from Drury while under pressure from Dublin and it was left to the big defender to knock the ball clear.

Cardiff boss Jones made another change with nine minutes to go when goal scorer Parry was replaced by Gunter.

Gunter soon felt the force of a challenge from Etuhu when the City midfielder sent him tumbling on the touchline, conceding a free-kick in the process and it was Gunter who fired over the top seconds later when City struggled to clear following the dead ball kick.

Still the Canaries had a chance to salvage a point and Martin, shielding the ball well, knocked it back for Safri to fire wide from just outside the area.

As the minutes ticked away, Cardiff managed to take the ball towards the right hand corner flag and start the usual time wasting tactics employed by a team with a one goal lead.

There was a certain amount of annoyance among the home fans when the fourth official signalled that four additional minutes would have to be played.

In time added on, City's travelling fans briefly thought they were celebrating an equaliser when Huckerby moved on to Dublin's pass and poked a shot past Alexander but the linesman was flagging for offside, a decision that seemed to anger Grant as he argued with the fourth official.

Result: Cardiff City 1, Norwich City 0.

Cardiff: Alexander, McNaughton, Loovens, Johnson, Ledley, Whittingham, McPhail, Parry, Scimeca, Chopra, Thompson. Subs:

Forde, Byrne, Walton, Green, Gunter.

Norwich: Warner, Drury, Shackell, Hughes, Doherty, Croft, Safri, Lappin, Etuhu, Martin, Huckerby. Subs: Gallacher, Dublin,

Fotheringham, McVeigh, Colin.

Referee: G Salisbury (Lancashire)

MoM: Shackell

Attendance: 13,276

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