Malky Mackay leads Cardiff back to top table

Cardiff's Scottish defender Kevin McNaughton gets his head to the ball during last night's historic match in the Welsh capital. Picture: Getty
Cardiff's Scottish defender Kevin McNaughton gets his head to the ball during last night's historic match in the Welsh capital. Picture: Getty
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CARDIFF City ended a 51-year wait for promotion back to the top flight of English football after last night’s 0-0 draw with Charlton.

Malky Mackay’s class of 2013 had Scotland goalkeeper David Marshall to thank for a string of fine saves to keep out the in-form Addicks before the final whistle sparked a pitch invasion and memorable scenes in the Welsh capital 53 years to the day since they last achieved promotion to the top tier.

In the 21st minute Johnnie Jackson’s curling left-footed free-kick was superbly tipped onto his near post by Marshall.

Mackay’s men were once again indebted to Marshall for another top drawer save to stop Ricardo Fuller spoiling their promotion party just after the hour mark.

The Scotland international was at full stretch to claw the curling goal-bound effort out of his bottom right hand corner and around the post.

In the 69th minute Cardiff looked to have finally made the breakthrough when Noone turned Mutch’s curling delivery into the bottom corner but an offside flag cut his celebrations short.

The news that Millwall had taken the lead against Watford was greeted by chants of ‘the Blues are going up’ as the realisation began to set in that the 51-year wait was over. Watford’s defeat meant the score in Wales was rendered meaningless but it ended 0-0 and the party started.

Cardiff, who have missed out in the play-offs for the last three seasons, will play in the top flight next season for the first time since 1962, with a mouth-watering south Welsh derby against Swansea to look forward to.

At the other end of the table, Bristol City’s six-season spell in the Championship came to an end with a 1-0 home defeat by Birmingham.

Needing a win to avoid the drop to League One, the Robins fell behind to a Wade Elliott goal and never recovered.

Hull remain six points better off than Watford in second place as both sides lost to unfancied opponents.

Kevin Doyle handed Wolves a 1-0 win over the Tigers with a 55th-minute strike, a result that also lifted Wanderers out of the relegation zone. The Hornets, meanwhile, were beaten 1-0 by Millwall after Shaun Batt netted seven minutes from time.

Leicester returned to the play-off places, replacing opponents Bolton in the top six following a hard-fought 3-2 win.

David Ngog and Chris Wood exchanged penalties in the first half before Lloyd Dyer and Darren Pratley made it 2-2. Jeffrey Schlupp then won it for the Foxes 11 minutes from the end.

In League One, Oldham’s 1-0 win over Yeovil condemned John Hughes’ Hartlepool and Portsmouth to relegation to the bottom tier. Matt Smith’s header ensured Lee Johnson’s Oldham put one over his father Gary’s Yeovil. The Johnsons became only the second father and son to face each other as opposing managers. Bill Dodgin (Bristol Rovers) and Bill Dodgin Jr (Fulham) are the only father and son pairing to have previously done so, the last of their five encounters coming in 1971.

The Scots that have helped Cardiff City into the English Premier League...

David Marshall

Goalkeeper has been an ever-present this season, a model of consistency in the Welsh side’s return to the English elite after a 51-year exile. His form saw him win a Scotland recall for last month’s World Cup qualifier against Serbia. Now in his fourth season at Cardiff following spells with Norwich City and Celtic.

Kevin McNaughton

The ex-Aberdeen defender is in his seventh season at the Welsh club and finally reaches the top flight after being part of Cardiff sides who were eliminated in the play-offs in each of the last three seasons. Has also played in both League Cup and FA Cup finals for the Bluebirds.

Craig Conway

Joined from Dundee United in summer 2011 and had made 24 league appearances this season before last night. Wide midfield player scored twice in United’s Scottish Cup final triumph over Ross County in 2010. Began his career with Ayr United and helped Cardiff to last season’s League Cup final where they were unlucky to lose to Liverpool on penalties.

Don Cowie

Highland midfielder has played in roughly half of Cardiff’s games this season. His first senior club was Ross County before moving to Inverness Caledonian Thistle. Spent two and a half years with Watford before switching to Cardiff at the start of last season. Capped ten times by Scotland.