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Report: Cardiff City 2-2 Rovers

Adam Armstrong's brace earns Rovers a battling point against the play-off chasing Bluebirds

10 April 2021

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Adam Armstrong hit a brace as Rovers twice came from behind to earn a deserved point against play-off chasing Cardiff City at the Cardiff City Stadium.

After Will Vaulks put the hosts in front midway through the first half, Armstrong notched his first of the day and 20th of the season when he found a way past Alex Smithies at his near post with only two minutes of the half remaining.

The goal gave Rovers confidence and Tony Mowbray's men his the woodwork on three occasions through Sam Gallagher, Bradley Johnson and then Barry Douglas.

It felt as if the goal was coming for the visitors, but it was Mick McCarthy's hosts who got it through Joe Ralls, who made it 2-1 to Cardiff with under 20 minutes remaining.

Rovers didn't lose belief though and got the goal that their performance deserved with just seconds remaining as Armstrong latched onto a fine pass from Lewis Holtby to poke past Smithies and level for Rovers in the final minute.

Gallagher was one of two changes to Mowbray's side for the trip to south Wales, with the forward joining Lewis Travis, who also returned to the starting XI.

Injury kept Joe Rothwell out of the matchday squad, whilst Tyrhys Dolan dropped to the bench.

Rovers raced out of the traps in south Wales and it was Armstrong who passed up an opportunity inside the opening minute after Harvey Elliott's deflected cross fell kindly to the frontman, who dragged wide of Smithies' right-hand post.

A moment later and the hosts nearly went ahead themselves, but Kieffer Moore's low cross evaded everyone before the danger was eventually cleared.

Soon after and a superb challenge from Tom Trybull stopped Moore from pulling the trigger after the big frontman skipper past Darragh Lenihan and Taylor Harwood-Bellis in the box.

Good play from Moore and Harry Wilson saw the two combine before Wilson curled over, but the play was called back due to Lenihan tagging the City striker.

And from the resulting free-kick Cardiff took the lead through Vaulks. Wilson acted as the decoy; flicking the ball back towards Vaulks, who lashed into the bottom corner despite Kaminski getting a touch on the shot.

Rovers kept going despite the disappointment, with Gallagher stinging the gloves of the recalled Smithies, who was one of four changes made for the game by Mick McCarthy.

But with the next opportunity earned the visitors an equaliser through Armstrong's 20th league strike of the campaign.

A superb ball from Elliott played the forward in, and after curring inside Ciaron Brown, Armstrong's left-footed effort caught out Smithies at his near post with only a minute to go until the break.

That gave Rovers a spring in their step going into half-time, and the scoreline was almost turned around just two minutes after the interval, but Brown's challenge on Elliott in the box was time perfectly after Armstrong's superb ball set the teenager free.

Rovers went even closer just a moment later, but he thundered an attempt that crashed against the post before his follow up effort flew into the side-netting.

Armstrong sensed there was another goal for him, and his instinctive strike forcing Smithies to gather down to his left at the second attempt.

Rovers continued to probe and a super counter attack led by Elliott eventually saw Barry Douglas' ball clip towards Bradley Johnson, but his toe poke hit the outside of the post with 25 minutes of the encounter remaining.

The upright saved Cardiff again a moment later when Douglas' free kick crashed against the crossbar before the sucker-punch arrived thanks to substitute Ralls.

Having only entered the action eight minutes earlier, the midfielder was played in with under 20 minutes remaining, tucking through the legs of Thomas Kaminski to put the Bluebirds back in front.

It was harsh on Rovers, but Mowbray's men kept going and went close through Armstrong and then Ben Brereton as the clock ticked down.

But there was still time remaining and Rovers deservedly got the equaliser that their play deserved at the very least.

It came from Armstrong again, who prodded home underneath Smithies after latching onto Lewis Holtby's sublime pass through from substitute Lewis Holtby in the final minute of regulation time.

Cardiff City: Smithies, Nelson, Flint (c), Brown, Sang, Pack, Vaulks, Ng, Wilson (Williams, 90), Murphy (Ralls, 63), Moore.

Unused substitutes: Phillips, Osei-Tutu, Watters, Ojo, Harris, Hoilett, Colwill.

Goals: Vaulks, 27, Ralls, 71

Booked: Ralls, 75

Rovers: Kaminski, Nyambe, Lenihan, Harwood-Bellis, Douglas, Trybull (Holtby, 77), Johnson (Dolan, 77), Travis (Downing, 77), Elliott (Davenport, 77), Armstrong, Gallagher (Brereton, 77).

Unused substitutes: Pears, Bell, Branthwaite, Bennett.

Goal: Armstrong, 44, 90.

Booked: Kaminski, 20, Lenihan, 65.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson.

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