Earnshaw inspires Bluebirds

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Robert Earnshaw proved himself Cardiff City's hero once again as the Welsh international bagged a brace in the 3-1 home win over Stoke City.

Earnshaw notched his 18th and 19th goals of the season either side of a Kris Commons strike before Daniel Gabbidon secured the success in the closing ten minutes.

The diminutive Earnshaw's pace was causing Stoke all sorts of problems and he twice forced Ed de Goey into smart saves before opening the scoring on 24 minutes.

The ball fell to Earnshaw 25 yards out and the Welshman had little hesitation in dispatching a stinging volley beyond de Goey.

Young midfielder Commons was proving to be Stoke's best source of opportunities and he tested Neil Alexander with a shot before netting the equaliser on 59 minutes.

Commons' corner came straight back into his path and he jinked past two defenders before driving a low effort beyond Alexander.

Ade Akinbiyi then missed a solid opportunity for the visitors while de Goey had to be alert again to produce a fine stop to keep out John Robinson.

Earnshaw's second goal arrived on 71 minutes when Cardiff broke quickly after a Stoke corner with Graham Kavanagh releasing his prolific team-mate to fire past de Goey.

On 81 minutes, Cardiff eased their nerves when Kavanagh's corner was not dealt with and impressive defender Gabbidon forced the ball home.