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Cardiff City Stadium (ATT 21,216) 17th April 2012 - Kick off 19:45 Ref: L Probert

Cardiff Cardiff City vs Derby County Derby

Cardiff 2

J Mason (24)
M Hudson (63)

ft

Derby 0

Hudson wonder-goal caps win

Last Updated: 17/04/12 10:37pm

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Hudson: Netted from inside his own half

Hudson: Netted from inside his own half

Joe Mason and Mark Hudson strengthened Cardiff's grip on the Championship play-offs with a 2-0 victory over Derby at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Despite an encouraging start from Derby, former Plymouth Argyle striker Mason gave the Bluebirds a half-time lead with his 11th goal of the season on Tuesday night.

And on the hour, defender Hudson sealed the win with a wonder goal, firing past Frank Fielding from inside his own half to extend Cardiff's unbeaten run to eight league matches.

Malky Mackay's side now sit four points clear of seventh-placed Middlesbrough, who were held to a goalless draw by relegated Doncaster tonight, with two games remaining.

Nathan Tyson had a goal disallowed for the Rams with the score at 0-0 and, despite an encouraging performance, Nigel Clough's side slipped to their second successive league defeat.

After firing wide from 20 yards, Kenny Miller finally tested Fielding, who tipped the former Derby striker's 18-yard shot round the post.

Derby thought they had opened the scoring after 14 minutes when the recalled Tyson converted a flick-on from Theo Robinson, but the former Nottingham Forest forward was deemed to be in an offside position.

The game started to open up, with Fielding having to turn away an Aron Gunnarsson strike from distance while Paul Green, earlier thwarted by a solid defensive block by Andrew Taylor, brought the best out of home number one David Marshall.

But it was Cardiff who broke the deadlock in the 24th minute through Mason, who converted after Miller's strike cannoned back off the post.

The visitors refused to lie down and continued to show their attacking intent, but Jeff Hendrick and Tom Naylor failed to hit the target with long-range efforts.

Defender Jake Buxton called Marshall into action just before half-time with a header from Jamie Ward's corner as Derby finished strongly.

Cardiff doubled their advantage in emphatic fashion after 63 minutes when Hudson collected a poor Fielding kick and, after trying his luck from inside his own half, saw his effort evade the backtracking Derby shot-stopper and nestle into the net.

Derby tried to get back in the match, only for Marshall to continue his fine performance in the sticks by tipping a Hendrick header round the post, while Craig Bryson fired wide from 25 yards.

The Rams' wayward finishing proved to be their downfall as Robinson this time missed the target, shooting over from 18 yards.

In the final minute, Derby almost netted a late consolation but Marshall was equal to John Brayford's shot, while substitute Robert Earnshaw saw a shot blocked at the other end as he sought a goal against his former team.

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Matches

Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 23 45
2 Ipswich Town 23 44
3 Derby County 23 42
4 Middlesbrough 23 42
5 Brentford 23 40
6 Watford 23 38
7 Norwich City 23 37
8 Blackburn Rovers 23 34
9 Wolverhampton Wanderers 23 34
10 Nottingham Forest 23 31
11 Cardiff City 23 31
12 Charlton Athletic 23 31
13 Sheffield Wednesday 23 31
14 Bolton Wanderers 23 29
15 Fulham 23 28
16 Birmingham City 23 28
17 Reading 23 26
18 Rotherham United 23 25
19 Huddersfield Town 23 25
20 Leeds United 23 24
21 Millwall 23 23
22 Wigan Athletic 23 20
23 Brighton and Hove Albion 23 20
24 Blackpool 23 13