Cardiff City 2 PNE 1
North End’s winning run came to end due to a controversial penalty at the Cardiff City Stadium.
A less controversial first penalty gave the Bluebirds the first half lead when Anthony Pilkington was fouled and got up to put home the spot kick. However, his second of the afternoon came after a dubious award by a linesman for a supposed pull back on Tom Lawrence.
North End pulled a goal back through Callum Robinson, but couldn’t get a second to take a point back to England.
North End were unchanged for the fourth game in a row, whilst the home side were forced into two changes due to injuries.
It was a slow opening but just before the quarter hour mark Adam Reach latched onto a ball into the right side of the box, drove inside and only a skidding challenge from Matthew Connolly blocked him from shooting.
On 19 minutes an Anthony Pilkington cross from the right went through everyone, came off the inside of the post and into the arms of Anders Lindegaard.
It was one way then the other in terms of chances as Reach was threaded through by Daniel Johnson, in a right hand channel; he tried a left footed shot, but dragged wide of the left hand post.
Just before the half hour mark there was a brilliant double save from Lindegaard. A left wing cross from Ralls was played in towards Pilkington, and his low header was just kept out by the fingertips of the Dane, who then got up to block the rebound from the same man.
But Pilkington it was who broke the deadlock. In the final minute before the break Paul Huntington was adjudged to have brought the Cardiff No.13 in the left corner of the penalty area and a penalty given to Cardiff by referee Brendan Malone. Pilkington stepped up and drove the ball right down the middle and into the goal.
On 65 minutes North End had the ball in the net when half-time substitute Callum Robinson crossed from the left and Reach fired home at the back post, only for the flag to be up for Joe Garner being offside.
It was all North End second half but with 12 minutes to go a second penalty was awarded to Cardiff. A pull back was adjudged by a North End player and Pilkington again stepped up and slammed the ball this side to the left to double the Bluebirds tally.
North End pulled a goal back with three minutes to go when Greg Cunningham did superbly down the left and pulled the ball back for Callum Robinson to fired home with inch precision into the bottom right corner from 18 yards out, but in the end it proved mere consolation.
: Marshall (c), Peltier, Manga, Ralls, Pilkington (Dikgacoi, 82), Connolly, Gunnarsson, O’Keefe, Immers (Zohore, 90), Malone, Lawrence (Ameobi, 90). Subs not used: Moore, Macheda, Oshilaja, Saadi.Cardiff City line-up
: Lindegaard, Woods, Cunningham, Clarke (c), Huntington (Robinson, 46), Wright, Browne, Gallagher (Pearson, 84), Johnson (Hugill, 63), Reach, Garner. Subs not used: Hudson, Vermijl, Pearson, Kilkenny, Welsh.PNE line-up
: 15,566 (804 away fans)Attendance
: Mr B MaloneReferee