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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 Watford 45 88
2 Bournemouth 44 84
3 Middlesbrough 45 84
4 Norwich City 45 83
5 Ipswich Town 45 78
6 Derby County 45 77
7 Brentford 45 75
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 45 75
9 Blackburn Rovers 45 64
10 Charlton Athletic 45 60
11 Birmingham City 45 60
12 Nottingham Forest 45 59
13 Cardiff City 45 59
14 Sheffield Wednesday 45 59
15 Leeds United 45 55
16 Huddersfield Town 45 54
17 Fulham 45 52
18 Bolton Wanderers 44 51
19 Reading 44 47
20 Brighton and Hove Albion 45 46
21 Rotherham United 44 42
22 Millwall 45 41
23 Wigan Athletic 45 39
24 Blackpool 45 25