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Cardiff City Stadium (ATT 24,263) 29th December 2012 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: M Halsey

Cardiff Cardiff City vs Millwall Millwall

Cardiff 1

R Gestede (8)

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Rudy Gestede scored the only goal of the game as league leaders Cardiff beat Millwall 1-0

Last Updated: 29/12/12 8:14pm

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Rudy Gestede: Scored the winner

Rudy Gestede: Scored the winner

Rudy Gestede scored the only goal of the game as league leaders Cardiff made it three in a row against Millwall with a 1-0 win to move five points clear of second placed Hull.

Manager Malky Mackay dropped striker Heidar Helguson in favour of 24-year-old Gestede who partnered Craig Bellamy while Aron Gunnarsson also came into the midfield.

And it was the former Metz forward who was quickest to repay the faith of his manager after just eight minutes when Craig Noone beat Shane Lowry with a mazy run before crossing for the Frenchman who tapped home from six yards.

The visitors' problems worsened 10 minutes later when winger Scott Malone had to be replaced by Liam Feeney with the Bluebirds already in a rampant mood.

Former Aston Villa defender Lowry made amends for his early lapse blocking a Bellamy effort inside the box while goalkeeper David Forde was forced to deal with a flurry of tricky deliveries in quick succession.

But they were showing no lack of firepower themselves following 11-goal Chris Wood's return to parent club West Brom. Lowry delivered for Darius Henderson on 24 minutes whose header drew a fine stop from David Marshall.

Substitute Mutch went close to a second 10 minutes after the restart but Forde produced a flying save to keep out his long range drive.

Dangerous in attack, the hosts looked susceptible at the back and Dany N'Guessan, recalled to the starting XI following the departure of Wood, fired a warning shot into the side netting on the hour mark after a swift counter attack.

Kenny Jackett's side were firmly on top in the second-half and the impressive Marshall was again called into action minutes later this time tipping Henry's free-kick round the post.

His opposite number was keen to prove his worth as the game began to open up in the final 20 minutes and Forde kept them in it with a brilliant parry to deny Noone.

Mackay introduced Helguson in place of Gestede 13 minutes from time as the Bluebirds used all their experience to hold on for a vital three points.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13