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Cardiff 1-1 Fulham Cham 01 1516 - The Guardian

last updated Tuesday 11th August 2015, 10:13 AM

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The Guardian

Cardiff City (0) 1-1 (0) Fulham

The substitute Craig Noone produced a stunning late strike to earn Cardiff a point in their season opener. The home side seemed to be running out of ideas when Noone, who had only been on the pitch for eight minutes, rifled a 25-yard shot into the top corner with four minutes to go.

Russell Slade, the Cardiff manager, felt his side were good value for the draw, and said Noone had long been capable of such goals, even though he only scored once in 39 games last season.

"We've been waiting for that one," Slade said. "Craig does it so many times in training but we didn't see it last season with the success we wanted. Pilks [Anthony Pilkington] got the nod above him to start but Craig's come on and made a point - and that's the reaction you want. I felt we deserved a point massively on the balance of play and the opportunities created."

What had been an evenly-balanced contest turned Fulham's way when Matt Smith punished Simon Moore's handling error two minutes into the second half.

Moore, deputising for the suspended David Marshall, misjudged Ben Pringle's overhit cross and spilled the ball for the alert Smith to head home from close range.

Cardiff welcomed back Pilkington and Kagisho Dikgacoi after injury-hit spells last season and both players were influential in the early stages. Pilkington set up Joe Mason for a second-minute shot which was blocked by Dan Burn before Dikgacoi rolled an exquisite ball back into the wide man's path. The Republic of Ireland international picked out Mason at the near post but the striker was stretching and unable to hit the target.

Fulham's response was immediate as Smith almost profited from Moore's hesitation as the big striker headed against the outside of a post. Smith's aerial ability produced the visitors' best moments of an entertaining first half, rising above the home defenders but unable to keep down crosses from Jamie O'Hara and Kay Voser.

Cardiff were enjoying the greater share of possession and they were at their most dangerous when they managed to get Mason into the game. Pilkington found him with a neat ball and Mason's sharp spin and shot on the turn forced a flying save from Andy Lonergan and the Fulham goalkeeper had to deny the same player with his feet following a clever flick from Alex Revell.

Cardiff had almost taken the lead within 40 seconds of the restart when Pilkington's deflected shot looped on to the crossbar but Fulham went in front a minute later. The Bluebirds thought they had equalised four minutes later when Pilkington got the final touch but the referee, Darren Bond, spotted a handball and booked the winger for ungentlemanly conduct.

Cardiff pressed frantically for an equaliser in the final 25 minutes and Mason and Scott Malone both went close before Noone's decisive late effort.

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