WANDERERS bowed out of the FA Cup after Andy Lonergan’s second half error gifted a winner to Frazier Campbell – but at least they did so with a fight, and not a whimper.
The former Manchester United striker landed the decisive blow shortly after half time when Lonergan fumbled a cross close to his own goal.
Wanderers were a marked improvement on seven days ago – but with Swansea-bound David Ngog not on the team-sheet at all, their lack of presence up front was painfully to see at times.
After last week’s debacle at Reading, the fact that Lonergan remained a relative spectator for the first 45 minutes will have come as blessed relief to the Wanderers stopper.
And the Whites’ performance – resolute if unspectacular – will have also been of some comfort for Dougie Freedman, who faced some difficult questions in the light of the Madejski Massacre.
There were few moments of drama in the penalty box, save for a Mark Hudson far-post header that drifted across the face of goal early on.
Alex Baptiste also made a crucial block on Aron Gunnarsson’s shot on the edge of the box, summing up the clear improvement being shown by the defensive unit.
Wanderers carved out a couple of half chances – Chris Eagles seeing one effort blocked by Ben Turner and Chung-Yong Lee fizzing a late volley inches wide in the last action of the half.
Freedman’s players disappeared back down the tunnel content with their work in the first 45 minutes but within moments of the restart, it had all been undone.
Half-time sub Craig Noone threw the ball into the box, Alex Baptiste only helping his cross on, and when Lonergan inexplicably spilled the ball it left another replacement, Frazier Campbell, with a relatively simple finish from the angle.
It nearly got worse for Lonergan as he flapped at another cross a few moments later but this time Campbell was unable to get his effort on target.
But to give Wanderers credit they rolled up their sleeves once again and Neil Danns was unlucky to see a powerful effort beaten away at the near post by David Marshall.
Cardiff’s keeper also had to be at his best to push away a deflected cross from Craig Davies and a header from his own defender, Ben Turner.
Freedman brought on Sanmi Odelusi and Andre Moritz in an effort to spice things up for the last 20 minutes but try as did, the clear cut opportunity just did not materialise to get back into it.
Lonergan made a smart stop from Bo-kyung Kim late on to make partial amends for his earlier error but the Welshmen saw the game out comfortably to book their place in the fifth round.