It was very much a Jekyll and Hyde performance from Blues as they were forced to settle for a point against Cardiff.BCFC
The hosts made the perfect start to the contest by taking a fourth minute lead courtesy of Jude Bellingham, but The Bluebirds claimed a share of the spoils thanks to a second-half goal from Lee Tomlin.
Having played so well in the first 30 minutes of the game, Blues were second best particularly after the break and if truth be known could have no complaints about the result
There were four changes to the Blues starting line-up, with Marc Roberts, Dan Crowley, Ivan Sunjic and Jude Bellingham returning.
In the absence of Harlee Dean through suspension, striker Lukas Jutkiewicz was named as captain.
On a brisk January afternoon in the Second City, Blues made a lively start and found themselves ahead courtesy of Bellingham.
Maxime Colin won a corner for his side on the right. Dan Crowley fired in the deadball to the near post, where it was helped on by Jeremie Bela before being turned home from close range by his midfield colleague.
Blues were continuing to look lively and causing Cardiff plenty of problems.
Crowley tried his luck with a powerful effort from just outside the box, but his shot was deflected behind for a corner.
Blues came desperately close to doubling their advantage after 18 minutes and what a goal it would have been. Sunjic nodded the ball on to Bela and the Frenchman brought it down superbly before unleashing a terrific left-footed shot which skimmed the cross bar.
The energetic Crowley then saw another goalbound shot deflected behind for another corner.
With just over half an hour played Blues were denied a certain goal by Cardiff stopper Smithies.
Jutkiewicz’s header found Bellingham who looked odds on to score with his sidefooted volley, but Smithies threw his body in the way, and the ball cannoned off the upper part of his torso and behind for a corner.
As the end of the first half approached Cardiff finally began to show some attacking intent, but Blues were dealing comfortably with any threat and clearing the ball away from the dangerzone.
Half-time: Blues 1 Cardiff City 0
Cardiff were on the front foot right from the restart and were looking the most threatening they had been all game as they started to pin Blues back into their own half.
Far too often the hosts were conceding unnecessary fouls or losing the ball through poor passes.
Jutkiewicz was forced to put in an excellent block on Tomlin as the Cardiff man tried his luck with a shot at the near post.
Minutes later Tomlin appealed for a penalty after going over in the box, but referee Davies waved his protestations away.
Blues were at real sixes and sevens and struggling to produce football anything like they had during the first third of the contest.
It therefore came as no surprise when The Bluebirds levelled just after the hour-mark when Tomlin headed home from a corner.
In an attempt to get a grip back on the game, Clotet sent on the experienced Jacques Maghoma in place of Mrabti.
But Blues were continuing to come under pressure and Jutkiewicz was called into defensive action once again as he was forced to divert Gavin Whyte’s teasing cross behind.
With 71 minutes on the clock, Tomlin was a whisker away from firing home a second goal as his shot from 20 yards skimmed off the outside of Lee Camp’s post.
Blues were continuing to struggle and on 80 minutes they made a second change of the game when Gary Gardner was sent on in place of Bellingham.
However, very much against the run of play Blues were not far away from taking the lead. Sunjic whipped in a delightful cross which found Jutkiewicz, but the striker didn’t quite get enough power on his header and it was turned behind by Smithies.
At the other end of the pitch Camp was forced to save low down from Paterson.
Blues (4-2-3-1): Camp, Pedersen, Roberts, Colin, Crowley, Jutkiewicz, Bela, Clarke-Salter, Mrabti (Maghoma, 64), Bellingham (G Gardner, 80), Sunjic.
Subs not used: Trueman (GK), Montero, McEachran, Gimenez, Davis.
Bookings: G Gardner, 83.
Goals: Bellingham (4).
Cardiff City (4-2-3-1): Smithies, Bennett, Morrison, Bacuna, Pack, Nelson, Tomlin (Glatzel, 90+1), Whyte, Richards, Ward (Paterson, 32), Hoilett (Ralls, 83).
Subs not used: Etheridge (GK), Flint, Vaulks, Murphy.
Bookings: Tomlin (61), Pack (74).
Goals: Tomlin (63)
Referee: Andy Davies.
Attendance: 20, 482 1,946 (Cardiff fans).