Neil Warnock had called for a comeback in the style of Tiger Woods. It could be, perhaps by himself, that what he received on an evening of renewed hope was totally unlikely.
That has less to do with the surprise of seeing two goals scored by a gun-shy side and more to do with the delay of a referee. Throughout his career, it has been his torment, the controversial complaint, the lamentation and the distraction tactics, and in recent weeks it has often been justified.
But someone went his way here. And it was a biggie. Perhaps so large that when the demolition is finished, if they somehow cause a major escape, it can be a key moment. That's because for the whole world it seemed that Brighton had a penalty at 0-0, 10 minutes in.
Bruno Manga had his hands over Lewis Dunk on a set piece, clearly like day. When Dunk landed on the deck, it was without much force. It was a draft and quite a heavy one. That was also the call, but unlike Chelsea at home and Burnley away, this one went for Cardiff. They say these conversations are the same over a season; this call may have saved one, given the platform on which Nathaniel Mendez-Laing scored a beauty for 1-0 and Sean Morrison got the goal for safety.
On the other hand, consider how unlikely it is that this team will score twice with six losses in their previous seven games. They had previously only scored nine out of goals the entire season. Great timing to do well at the moment against their only real rival at this point.
All this makes Brighton in big trouble. They still have a two-point advantage and a game in their hands, but who could predict something from their respective submissions? Cardiff overlooks Liverpool, Fulham, Crystal Palace and Manchester United. Brighton has Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City as their last five games and has just suffered a fifth consecutive defeat in all competitions. It is their worst run in 12 years – less than fine timing.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing opened the score with a fierce shot from outside the penalty area in the 22nd minute
Some whispers have suggested that Chris Hughton is being followed as a critical investigation. Ridiculous in the light of what he has achieved there. But there is no confusion about the despair of his condition.
He made five changes to the side plagued by Bournemouth and also changed shape, with a 4-4-1-1 for the first time in 2019. As a sign of his recent frustrations, as a reflection of the urgency of Brighton & # 39; s situation, it was more telling than what he says in those worthy whispers.
And yet it was the changes from the louder man who had the greater initial impact. Warnock made three changes, with Oumar Niasse, Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Joe Ralls in for Kenneth Zohore, Josh Murphy and Harry Arter. Their manager will undoubtedly be quite satisfied with Ralls and Mendez-Laing is the key to the opening goal.
Nathaniel Mendez-Laing celebrated with the Cardiff couch, but Neil Warnock hardly showed a sense of emotion
It was Ralls who ended a Brighton attack with a hefty challenge 30 meters from his own goal and then walked up the counter where Junior Hoilett flew from left to left and played in the field to Mendez-Laing. After a few touches, he curled up from the top right of 25 meters. For a team that was often confronted with accusations of crimes against aesthetics, it was a nice looking goal.
As far as Brighton was concerned, the lament at that time was of missed opportunities. They had stormed the early moments of this match, with Solly March shooting into the side net in the first minute, before the Cardiff goalkeeper, Neil Etheridge, was forced into a challenge of pure despair at Glenn's feet in the following Murray. Murray had also shot a shot before the match was even five minutes deep and Lewis Dunk got his shout for a penalty against Bruno Manga who was ignored.
Finally, perhaps, the oddities of officiating went on in Warnock & # 39; s way. Against the break, the game was certain, even if Brighton had the majority of the ball and created the most chances.
Cardiff keeper Neil Etheridge did not stop it when he celebrated the early goal on Tuesday-evening
The home situation immediately became weaker in the second half, this time with a touch of self-destruction due to the weak marking of Dunk on a free kick by Victor Camarasa. With just a standard run, Morrison was able to reach the blind side of Dunk and in the absence of any form of recovery or challenge, he was free to drive past Mat Ryan. To repeat, Cardiff previously had nine out of goals for the season and here they had two.
Brighton pushed hard but got nothing in response, the closest thing to a stoppage-time header from Murray that hit the post. When it bounced to the safe side, Warnock was almost ready to dance.
After all, there is hope in the rough.
Brighton midfielder Dale Stephens has an air fight with Cardiff midfielder Victor Camarasa
Brighton striker Glenn Murray got an early chance with a final tackle from Cradiff keeper Neil Etheridge