Sheffield United's resilient start to the campaign was rocked by the dismissal of youngster Matty Lowton. The defender saw red for a non-malicious tackle on Bluebirds left-back Kevin McNaughton. Before the incident, Ched Evans pelted United into the lead live in front of Sky after a neat pass from former Swansea man Leon Britton. Before Evans turned the ball past Marshall, though, he was claiming a blatant spot-kick when he was hauled down by Gyepes, but the Welshman immediately got back up to net his and his side's first of the season. Jay Bothroyd got Cardiff's inevitable goal two minutes after the hour.
The Blades must be credited for such a professional and committed display at the Cardiff City Stadium. Leon Britton and Johnny Ertl made their competitive debuts, with Daniel Bogdanovic and Mark Yeates having to settle for a place on a bench with two academy stars - Jordan Chappell and Kingsley James.
Ward's corner caused havoc in the Bluebirds' area when David Marshall spilled the ball, only for McNaughton to head on to his own crossbar and over. Michael Chopra was denied giving his side an early lead after a push on Ertl unsteadied the Austrian, which sent Chopra through on goal to slot past Simonsen but the referee's assistant gave a free-kick in the Blades' favour from the Ertl incident.
United's breakthrough came on 24 minutes when the potent Evans swiftly got back to his feet after being felled in the area by Gyepes, and received the ball from Britton to side-foot the Blades into the lead.
Ertl cleared the danger from Blake's testing cross, and then Whittingham hit the side-netting. Matt Lowton was then shocked to see red after his challenge on McNaughton, which was late, was deemed a straight dismissal from yet another Premier League ref who can't officiate Championship games. His boot was admittedly high with studs showing, but an immediate red for his first challenge of the game seemed harsh. Jamie Ward had to revert to right-back.
Surprisingly, with all 11 men on the field, Cardiff didn't heap the pressure on before the interval, with Simonsen only having to take care of a tame free-kick from Whittingham. No changes were made at the break, and Dave Jones' men came out of the traps quickly. Hudson headed wide, and then their equaliser came. Blake's treacherous ball forced Simonsen out of box, sliding along the floor, luckily not touching it with his hands or that was another Blades player sent off. Chopra continued with the play at the by-line and picked out Bothroyd who squeezed the ball past Ward and Morgan on the line to make it one a piece.
Steve Simonsen, who was arguably at fault for Cardiff's equaliser, atoned with a string of stunning saves. Substitute McCormack was through on goal but the former Stoke-man rushed off his line to snuff out the danger and collect the ball. McCormack then had a belt at goal but Simonsen was equal to it, and then Chopra couldn't get the better of the shot-stopper.
Daniel Bogdanovic and Rob Kozluk entered the fray, with Britton and goalscorer Evans coming off. Jamie Ward moved back to right-midfield, with Kozluk being deployed behind him at right-back.
Blake and Burke had a go at trying to beat the defiant Simonsen, but the goalkeeper had contrasting thoughts. McCormack and Whittingham failed to break the Blades' rearguard down for a second time - McCormack heading over and Whittingham blazing over the crossbar.
Ward left the field, with the pint-sized figure heading straight down the tunnel to check on his niggle he picked up in the game. Mark Yeates, who shone in pre-season, came on for the final few minutes of normal time and the five minutes of added time the fourth official indicated.
The Bluebirds whipped in a few corners, but nothing troubled Simonsen and the Blades cleared their lines. The referee blew time, with United overjoyed to have got a point with less men than their opponents for two thirds of the game, but Cardiff will be ruing missed chances, but know the Blades' goalkeeper was to thank for keeping them in it. All in all, a professional display from the lads, and they deserve plaudits from such a committed performance. Next stop Hartlepool in the Cup. The final score from the Cardiff City Stadium, is, Cardiff City 1:1 Sheffield United.
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