Jaden Philogene strike earns Cardiff maximum points against Rotherham
Substitute Jaden Philogene’s second-half strike was enough to earn Cardiff a 1-0 home win over Rotherham.
Philogene’s 65th-minute winner halted a run of three successive losses for Bluebirds’ interim boss Mark Hudson as they bounced back from last week’s derby defeat to Swansea.
Both sides welcomed back key defenders, with Perry Ng returning for the hosts and captain Richard Wood back for the visitors.
And it was defences that dominated the first hour. Cardiff were on top throughout with 65 per cent possession and 19 shots to their opponents’ three, but they lacked the cutting edge to make those stats count before Philogene’s quality finish.
Mark Harris led the line up for Cardiff with Callum Robinson suspended following his red card at Swansea.
The Wales international was bright and inventive throughout but could not help the home side break down a stubborn Millers defence, despite plenty of first-half pressure.
Sheyi Ojo did have the ball in the net after just 80 seconds as he pounced on the rebound when Harris’s effort was saved by Viktor Johansson but the offside flag was up.
Joe Ralls played in Callum O’Dowda shortly afterwards but the winger fired into the side-netting from the left of the 18-yard box.
Former Bluebirds defender Lee Peltier then cleared Ojo’s dangerous cross with a flying header behind.
And Ojo was involved again as he controlled a chip over the top from Cedric Kipre on his chest before his shot was deflected over the crossbar by Cohen Bramall.
Hudson’s men continued to dominate proceedings and Ojo went close again but he did not get enough on his header from O’Dowda’s cross, glancing wide from close range.
Ryan Wintle then saw a shot deflected behind before Andy Rinomhota picked out Harris’s run with a clever pass, but the striker’s shot from a tight angle was saved by the legs of Johansson at the near post.
Rotherham offered little threat in return, with Conor Washington wasting their best opportunity of the first half.
Oliver Rathbone released the Northern Ireland international on the break, but he wanted too much time on the ball and was crowded out before he could get a shot away.
Hudson made a double change at the break, replacing both full-backs in an attempt to boost the threat from wide areas.
And substitutes Mahlon Romeo and Philogene combined to finally give Cardiff the lead they deserved in the 65th minute.
Romeo saw one shot blocked before finding Philogene in the middle and the Aston Villa loanee showed his Premier League pedigree to curl the ball into the top corner.
Harris missed a chance to double the lead and Wintle blazed over late on, but one goal was enough for the hosts.