Point takes Albion top: Match Review

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Promotion rivals Cardiff and West Brom could not be separated in a pretty flat encounter which ended 1-1 although the point took Albion back to the top of the Coca-Cola Championship on goal difference.

Both sides were ravaged with injury and suspension going into the game and that seemed to take the edge off a clash that failed to live up to the promise of a meeting between the division`s two leading goalscorers.

Peter Whittingham handed Cardiff an eighth-minute lead with his 16th league goal of the season from the penalty spot after Jay Bothroyd had been brought down by Jonas Olsson.

But, with Andy Slory having struck a post, Gianni Zuiverloon made up for his mistake in Reading's quickfire opener at the weekend when he levelled matters in first-half injury time.

Baggies substitute Chris Wood and Cardiff wide man Chris Burke both wasted second-half chances to snatch victory.

Dave Jones, missing six first-team players, and counterpart Roberto di Matteo, nine, will both welcome the point with the Bluebirds still just one behind fourth-placed rivals Swansea after Plymouth's late equaliser at Home Park.

The game started at high speed and the 20,758 inside the Cardiff City Stadium did not have to wait long for the opener.

Bothroyd, who caused the visitors constant problems in the first half, rolled Albion centre-back Jonas in the area and the pair tangled before Bothroyd went to ground, resulting in an early spot-kick which Whittingham duly dispatched down the middle.

The early breakthrough saw Cardiff sit back somewhat and, although Albion were posing little threat in response, Slory was unlucky to see his shot rebound off the inside of a post having been played through by the talismanic Graham Dorrans.

Cardiff lost goalscorer Whittingham to injury just before the half-hour mark as Jones` injury problems piled up further.

Chris Burke, who was allowed a free run on goal before opening the scoring in Cardiff`s 2-0 win at The Hawthorns in December, this time saw his effort saved by Scott Carson when presented with the same opportunity.

But just as a pretty ordinary first half looked to be drawing to a close, Dorrans found the advanced Zuiverloon and his shot was pushed on to a post by Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall before the right-back poked home from close range to level matters.

Chris Brunt fired into the side netting at the start of a second half that continued in the same run-of-the-mill manner as the opening 45 minutes.

The clash could have gone either way as the hour mark passed, with both sides enjoying the odd half chance without Carson or Marshall being seriously tested.

Wood was presented with a golden chance to put Albion ahead in the 70th minute but he could only send Zuiverloon`s cross wide.

And with five minutes remaining, Michael Chopra`s pull-back found its way to Burke via Olsson`s poor clearance but he could only fire wide when he really should have at least hit the target.

Bothroyd, Ross McCormack and Simon Cox then all fired off target in the closing stages as the game finished all square.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Chris Burke
West Bromwich Albion
Peter Whittingham
Gianni Zuiverloon
Ross McCormack
Chris Brunt
Graham Dorrans
Cardiff City
Scott Carson
David Marshall
Roberto Di Matteo
Chris Wood
Michael Chopra
Jonas Olsson
Simon Cox
Plymouth Argyle
Swansea City
Jay Bothroyd

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