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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 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23