Mark Harris sends a timely message to Wales manager Rob Page. Pic: Getty Images.

A Mark Harris ‘Screamer’ Sets Up A Crucial Cardiff City Win . . . And Sends A Timely Reminder To Rob Page Ahead Of The World Cup

By Gareth James

Mark Hudson has revealed he told match-winning Cardiff City striker Mark Harris to make sure he was ready to answer his club’s call.

Caretaker boss Hudson left Harris on the bench for Tuesday’s clash at home to Blackburn Rovers – but with instructions to make a big impact when he came on.

The Wales World Cup hopeful delivered in style – smashing a wonderful goal late on to earn the Bluebirds a valuable 1-0 win.

Hudson, who gained his first win in temporary charge, said: “Strikers, if they’re not scoring, take it personally.

“He works so hard, Sparky (Harris), like all the lads, to be fair. But I spoke to him, it was a hard decision to leave him out because of the shape change. But I told him to be ready because we were going to use him.

“He, and every other player, made an impact.

“We didn’t start the game very well, took 10 minutes to get going, which you can’t do against most teams in this league.

“But I thought the second half we started well. And the subs we’ve made showed they are all committed.

“Sparky (Harris), I left him out, I spoke to him before and told him why, because of the shape change, but I told him how important he is and obviously then he comes on and scores a screamer.”

Harris gave Wales manager Rob Page a timely reminder of his goal scoring talent as he fired home a superb 20-yarder.

But the game could have been turned on its head in the first minute of stoppage time had Cardiff goalkeeper Ryan Allsop not saved a penalty from George Hirst after he had conceded the spot-kick by bringing done Dominic Hyam six yards out.

It would have been an injustice had Rovers got back on level terms in a game in which they had 14 shots to five and conceded seven corners. But it still took a save down to his left by Allsop to finally save the day.

The Bluebirds had not won at home since August 13 and came into interim boss Mark Hudson’s second game in charge buoyed by a 1-1 draw at the weekend. It took a 90th-minute goal from Callum Robinson to secure the point and he could have had a hatful in the first half.

Time after time the Republic of Ireland striker found himself in the box, but he either could not find the target or could not beat Thomas Kaminski in the Rovers goal.

It took until the 13th minute before either side created a chance and it was Robinson who benefitted from Sheyi Ojo’s good work to fire off a shot that deflected away for the first corner of the game. Callum O’Dowda’s header from the corner was just wide of the mark.

O’Dowda had another header from a corner won by Robinson after 20 minutes before Rovers had their one chance of the half when Tyrhys Dolan spotted Allsop out of his goal but lifted his 35-yard effort well over the crossbar as he tried to lob the home keeper.

Cardiff’s Ojo and Blackburn’s Sammie Szmodics picked up yellow cards for tackles in consecutive moves before the home side had the best chance of the game.

John Buckley brought down Andy Rinomhota as he drove towards goal and referee John Brooks adjudged the trip came inches outside the box.

Up stepped Robinson and his right-footed shot curled over the wall but just beyond the left-hand post to allow Blackburn to breathe another sigh of relief and go into the break on level terms.

Rovers had a golden opportunity to hit the front within three minutes of the restart after Dolan had skinned Niels Nkounkou down the right and crossed to Szmodics on the penalty spot, only to see him shoot tamely into the arms of Allsop.

It took a timely challenge from Daniel Ayala to stop Robinson in his tracks in the 65th minute, but nothing could stop Harris as he latched onto Robinson’s cross from the left to grab the winner.

Blackburn’s Jon Dahl Tomasson said: “Cardiff were better than us in the second half, but we had a few good chances in the second half. We’re improving slowly. It was a step in the right direction for us and the second half was very equal – it could have gone either way.

“The referee could have waited a bit longer when we had the penalty. It was definitely a penalty, but had he played on we would have scored. It was a frustrating night for the players and the fans. This is a brilliant league because so many teams are equal – everyone is winning and then losing.”

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