Christmas comes early for Malky’s marauders

Going up: Cardiff manager Mackay salutes the Welsh fans.'          Star Photographer
Going up: Cardiff manager Mackay salutes the Welsh fans.' Star Photographer
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CARDIFF boss Malky Mackay was delighted to see his players get back to winning ways with a 1-0 win at Leicester which assured they would be top of the Championship table at Christmas.

The Bluebirds bounced back from their defeat against Peterborough as Wales international Craig Bellamy’s well-struck half-volley gave them victory over the Foxes.

Mackay said: “This was a really big win for us after losing to Peterborough and it was smashing the way we bounced back from that. I’m delighted. We knew we were coming to play a very good team and that it was going to be tough. But I think this was a great advert for the Championship - and I’m not saying that just because we won. It was two teams playing attractive football and at a hell of a tempo.”

Wilfried Zaha enhanced his reputation with a stunning goal but Crystal Palace were held to a 1-1 draw by Huddersfield in an incident-filled match.

Arsenal and Manchester United are rumoured to be lining up January bids for the young England winger, and he bumped up his price tag by firing Palace into the lead in style.

But a goalkeeping error by Julian Speroni allowed Keith Southern to claim his first goal for Huddersfield as the visitors snatched a draw.

The talk after the match was of two red cards, though - Damien Delaney of Palace after just 10 minutes and Huddersfield’s Anthony Gerrard late on.

“I thought he was so quick to make a decision and I’ve seen the angle,” said Palace boss Ian Holloway. “It wasn’t reckless or dangerous play and he wasn’t the last man. I just can’t believe how quickly, from that angle, that he made that decision.”

He added: “I don’t agree but who am I? I’m just the Palace manager. I might be biased mightn’t I?”

Watford climbed into the play-off places with a 2-0 victory against 10-man Nottingham Forest.

Matej Vydra scored both goals for the Hornets, either side of Daniel Ayala’s sending-off for a second bookable offence.

Leeds boss Neil Warnock was delighted to get a win in front of new owners GFH Capital as Luciano Becchio scored twice in a 2-1 comeback victory over Middlesbrough. Lukas Jutkiewicz put the visitors ahead on the half hour mark but Becchio secured the points for Leeds, whose new owners were officially unveiled on Friday.

“It was a super day for our new owners at the end of a really positive week,” said Warnock, whose side lost their Capital One Cup quarter-final to Chelsea on Wednesday.

“I have to be delighted, especially coming from behind to beat a very good side.

“We put our bodies on the line near the end and there were a lot of tired legs out there.”

Bottom side Posh continued their recent resurgence as they came out on top in a remarkable nine-goal thriller against Bolton.

Lee Tomlin and Dwight Gayle struck to put the Posh 2-0 up, but Keith Andrews pulled one back from the penalty spot.

George Thorne made it 3-1, only for Andrews to again convert from the spot. Further goals from Mark Little and Gabriel Zakuani looked to have given Peterborough the spoils, but they were forced to hang on for a 5-4 win after Benik Afobe and Martin Petrov had given Bolton hope.

Posh boss Darren Ferguson said: “We’ve worked hard lately and put everything into the last two games- I’ll give the players Christmas Day off!”