Sam Vokes scored the winning goal as Burnley beat Cardiff to extend the Bluebirds’ winless start to the season.
Vokes stooped to head home a Johann Berg Gudmundsson cross with 20 minutes remaining to leave Neil Warnock’s men above only Huddersfield in the Premier League.
Gudmundsson had headed Burnley in front with his side’s first effort on target six minutes after half-time.
Cardiff summer signing Josh Murphy, who had a first-half effort disallowed, struck a deserved equaliser on the hour mark with his first Premier League goal.
But the Welsh side were level for just 10 minutes before Vokes’ header at the end of a rare and incisive break took Burnley up to 12th in the table.
Concern grows for Cardiff
Cardiff came into the game having lost three consecutive Premier League matches, and have now gone 11 top-flight games without a win.
They are without a win in eight games in all competitions this season – their worst run since 1964-65.
Only Newcastle have scored fewer goals and no side has conceded more in the Premier League this season.
But they should have taken something from Sunday’s only Premier League fixture, with Neil Warnock saying afterwards “it is a blow when we lose games like this, because we can’t play much better than that without winning a game”.
The Bluebirds boss had made four changes to the side thumped 5-0 by Manchester City last time out, as Callum Paterson, Murphy, Kenneth Zohore and Sol Bamba started, and there were encouraging signs.
Paterson was at the centre of things, shooting wide on 13 minutes and having a point-blank header cleared over the crossbar by Matej Vydra approaching half-time. He also had a credible penalty shout waved away seconds before the interval, when Matt Lowton handled his acrobatic effort.
There was superb composure to Murphy’s strike – his first Premier League goal – and Víctor Camarasa found himself in a good position but missed from 12 yards.
But they were hit on the break for the Clarets winner and with a game against Spurs at Wembley before the international break, things are not going to get any easier for Cardiff.
Hart inspires Burnley revival?
While Burnley are yet to come close to hitting the heights they reached last season, goalkeeper Joe Hart has contributed to their improved form of late.
The Clarets have won back-to-back Premier League matches for the first time this season, and they achieved this victory despite losing defender James Tarkowski to injury during the first half.
Their ability to get a foothold in the game was, at least in part, down to Hart, who produced several excellent saves.
He twice kept his side level in the first half, first stooping low to his left to deny Zohore, who poked at goal after collecting Camarasa’s pass.
Hart also stood strong to deny the lively Murphy on 17 minutes, a strong arm diverting a fierce drive on to the post.
His best save, however, came on 67 minutes when he superbly tipped over a Murphy effort that seemed destined to give Cardiff the lead.
Afterwards boss Sean Dyche said his side should have had a penalty when Sean Morrison appeared to haul back Vokes.
But an improved performance after the break saw Gudmundsson head home at the far post and Vokes strike the winner with a deft finish.
Man of the match – Johann Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley)
‘We can’t play much better than that’ – what they said
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock: “It is a cruel game sometimes, but I can’t fault the effort. They had two shots and you can’t concede goals like that. We didn’t get the rub of the green. From Paterson’s overhead kick, we should have a clear penalty.
“We can’t get much more out of the players but we make errors and they punish you. We could have taken more opportunities too – that little bit of finishing is what you pay for. We are just lacking a little bit of quality in that area.
“It is a blow to lose a game like today, because we can’t play much better than that.”
Burnley manager Sean Dyche: “A week ago there were a few stories knocking around. Now we’ve won two in a row – one at home, one away – and the stories change.
“There are a lot of things to be pleased with, particularly the three points. It was a mixed bag and in the first half Cardiff did so well, we couldn’t get a foothold into the game.
“Over a season you won’t dominate every week, you have to show a willingness to fight, a desire to win. There are no easy games against Neil Warnock sides and we knew that would be the case. Winning home and away changes the mentality… belief comes back into the group.”
Cardiff’s tough start – the stats
- With Cardiff, Newcastle and Huddersfield all yet to win, this is just the third time in Premier League history that as many as three teams have failed to record a win in their opening seven games of a campaign. It also happened in 2004-05 and 2012-13.
- Cardiff have failed to win each of their opening eight games of a season in all competitions for just the second time since 1964-65.
- The Bluebirds are winless in their past 11 games in the Premier League, losing eight and conceding 26 goals, with six scored.
- Burnley have recorded back-to-back wins in the Premier League for the first time since April, having gone 10 games without a victory.
- This was Burnley’s first victory over Cardiff in all competitions since a 2-0 win in April 2007, having failed to win any of the previous 13.
- Since the start of last season, Gudmundsson has been directly involved in 14 Premier League goals, more than any other Clarets player.
The Ken quiz…
Can you name all players beginning with ‘Ken’ who have played in the Premier League?
Score: 0 / 10
Burnley host Huddersfield at Turf Moor on Saturday (15:00 BST), while Cardiff travel to face Tottenham the same afternoon.