Cardiff City 0-2 Middlesbrough: Boro defeat ends Mick McCarthy tenure

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In four of their five previous away Championship matches, Middlesbrough failed to score.

Mick McCarthy, the Bluebirds' boss, was defeated by Neil Warnock, former Cardiff City boss.

Cardiff are currently on their worst run ever and have lost six of their last six home matches, a club record.

Middlesbrough took a well-deserved lead after Andraz Sporar scored from a penalty spot following Mark McGuinness’ handball.

Martin Payero secured the win with a smart 73rd minute finish after Aden Flint crossed the crossbar for Cardiff.

Although the Bluebirds improved after half-time, it is clear that they were not second best in a match where their fans chanted again against their manager with cries of "You're getting fired in the morning" echoing at Cardiff City Stadium.

It didn't take long for the club to announce that Terry Connor and McCarthy had "left the club in mutual agreement and with immediate effects".

This contest was a result of seven losses on the spin. The hosts were on their worst run since 1934. A small crowd witnessed McCarthy make three changes to the team that had been beaten by Fulham in midweek. Wales striker Kieffer Moor was also dropped to the bench.

Warnock, the former Bluebirds boss, made two changes as he returned from the Welsh capital. Both Warnock, and Sol Bamba, the former Cardiff captain, received warm ovations.

Middlesbrough started in a better state than Cardiff, with Paddy McNair firing wide and Marcus Tavernier blocking Sporar's efforts.

Bluebirds have been unable to score a goal in the first half this season. Warnock's side had much of the possession.

Neil Harris was succeeded by Mick McCarthy (left), as Cardiff boss in January 2021

Bamba was close to scoring against his old club. Alex Smithies had to save his header at a corner. The visitors' pressure finally paid 35 minutes later when Mark McGuinness handled Sporar’s shot and the Slovenian scored the penalty.

Middlesbrough should have gone into half-time ahead, but Matt Crooks fired wide after going clear through with Smithies to beat. Smithies also denied Uche Ikpeazu a near-post goal.

McCarthy took Perry Ng's place as defender and replaced him with Moore. The change in shape helped the hosts, who could have equalised on 53 minutes. However, striker James Collins shot straight at Joe Lumley.

Cardiff also had a close call with Flint, who hit the crossbar with his header after Ryan Giles' dangerous cross. Payero was just wide at the other end. Cardiff committed its players forward.

As Cardiff began to take control, Paddy McNair shot against the crossbar. They won their first away victory in five attempts when Payero scored after some difficult defending.

Cardiff's fans were furious at McCarthy's decision to score. He had just led their worst losing run in their history, and showed no signs of stopping their slide. Smithies was the only one to prevent a more serious defeat.


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