MX23RW : Wednesday, January 16 13:24:34

Result: Anthony Pilkington rescues late point for Cardiff City

Result: Pilkington rescues late point for Cardiff
© Offside
Anthony Pilkington scores a 91st-minute equaliser as Cardiff City earn a 1-1 draw away at Sheffield United.

Cardiff City have dropped points for the first time in three months with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane this evening.

The point would have felt like all three for the Bluebirds, though, as Anthony Pilkington struck in added time to level up a game that United dominated.

Cardiff's winning run may have ended at eight matches, but the draw extends their lead over Fulham to eight points in the race for second place.

United will argue that they deserved to claim all three points, having taken a 28th-minute lead through Leon Clarke and created numerous chances for a second, though a failure to build on their slender advantage would come back to haunt them.

John Lundstram failed to make the most of his side's first opportunity inside the opening five minutes, heading the ball straight at Neil Etheridge after being picked out in the centre by Enda Stevens.

Another United attempt, this time from returning Wales international Lee Evans, ended high over the bar soon after as the Blades enjoyed the better of the early exchanges.

Cardiff failed to get going at all in the first half, in fact, with their only shot of note coming via Kenneth Zohore, who could not ask any serious questions of stand-in keeper Simon Moore.

United bagged the breakthrough goal just short of the half-hour mark through Clarke, as he ended his 10-match goal drought with a weak attempt that deflected off Bruno Ecuele Manga and trickled over the line.

Etheridge had better luck later in the half, with Clarke's next effort deflecting off Sean Morrison and into his hands, but the hosts should have doubled their tally before the break.

Richard Stearman's free header was cleared off the line by Joe Bennett - though it may well have been hitting the post - and Lundstram scuffed a shot wide from the edge of the box soon after.

The visitors brought on January signing Gary Madine for Nathaniel Mendez-Laing at the interval, but the change did little to alter the flow of the match.

United continued to take control of things and squandered another glorious chance early in the second half, as David Brooks wanted too many touches of the ball when played through and was thwarted by Etheridge.

Cardiff, who face Wolverhampton Wanderers and Aston Villa in their next two matches, did start to show signs of life as the final half-hour approached.

In the space of 60 seconds, Madine nearly turned in Aron Gunnarsson's driven cross and Zohore's angled shot had to be lifted over the bar by Moore.

That momentum could not be sustained, though, and further openings came and went for John Fleck and Clayton Donaldson, the latter of whom hit the post with his first-time shot in the box.

The Bluebirds have scored 12 goals in the final 10 minutes of matches this term, and their never-say-die spirit earned them another point here.

After Clarke failed to turn the ball past Etheridge at his near post, substitute Pilkington swept a volley into the far corner at the other end to prevent the hosts from entering the top six, while at the same time edging Cardiff ever closer to the Premier League.

SHEFFIELD UNITED (3-5-2): Moore; O'Connell, Stearman (Wright 69'), Basham; Baldock, Lundstram, Evans (Leonard 88'), Fleck, Stevens; Brooks (Donaldson 72'), Clarke

CARDIFF CITY (4-2-3-1): Etheridge; Mangala, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Grujic; Patterson, Hoilett (Wildschut 78'), Mendez-Laing (Madine 46'); Zohore (Pilkington 78')

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Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock chats to assistant Kevin Blackwell in October 2017
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Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Leeds UnitedLeeds27166546281854
2Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd27155746281850
3Norwich CityNorwich27148549351450
4West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom27138655352047
5Middlesbrough271210530191146
6Derby CountyDerby2712783834443
7Bristol City2711883429541
8Birmingham CityBirmingham2791263930939
9Nottingham ForestNott'm Forest2791263931839
10Hull City27116103933639
11Queens Park RangersQPR27116103335-239
12Aston Villa2791174943638
13Swansea CitySwansea27107103632437
14Blackburn RoversBlackburn2791083541-637
15Stoke CityStoke2781183134-335
16Sheffield WednesdaySheff Weds2788113245-1332
17Brentford27710103937231
18Preston North EndPreston2779113944-530
19Wigan AthleticWigan2785142840-1229
20Millwall2777133343-1028
21Rotherham UnitedRotherham27510122542-1725
22Reading2758143041-1123
23Bolton WanderersBolton2757151840-2222
24Ipswich TownIpswich2739152246-2418

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