Varney on target but Blues denied by 10 man Cardiff
Luke Varney’s second-half equaliser gave Town a share of the points after Cardiff played the last 20 minutes with 10 men.
The Bluebirds led at the break after Aron Gunnarsson forced the ball home from close range.
Varney levelled soon after the break following good work by the outstanding Tom Lawrence before Sol Bamba took centre stage in an incident that will make all the headlines.
The Cardiff defender pushed over his own physio, then squared up to his manager Neil Warnock on the sidelines and appeared to argue with anyone in his way, including the fourth official.
His team-mates were clearly incensed at his actions as the former Leicester player made his way to the tunnel.
Town stayed with the same side for a third successive game, Brett Pitman returning to the squad for the first time since sustaining ankle ligament damage in September.
Gunnarsson was only inches away from giving Cardiff the perfect start, his brilliant 25 yard volley thumping the post before spinning to safety.
Town responded with Luke Chambers and Lawrence going close, then Chambers was denied at the far post as he looked to get on the end of a Lawrence cross.
David McGoldrick’s deflection took Chambers’ cross away from Varney, who was shaping up for a volley at the far post, Varney then just short of getting on the end of another Chambers cross.
Bart Bialkowski did well to keep out another piledriver from the dangerous Gunnarsson, the Town ‘keeper then denying Rickie Lambert with a punched clearance from virtually under his bar.
Lawrence’s willingness to run at the Cardiff defence was causing problems for the visitors, the Leicester loanee weaving past two challenges before his cross was hacked clear. From the break, Gunnarsson exploded his shot over the bar.
McGoldrick forced Ben Amos into a save with a left foot effort from the edge of the box, the Republic of Ireland international then sent the ‘keeper scampering to his left with a dipping volley that went just wide.
Cardiff got the breakthrough on 38 minutes, Peter Whittingham’s corner was spilt by Bialkowski under pressure from Gunnarsson and the midfielder stabbed the ball into the roof of the net.
McGoldrick was twice denied as Town looked for an equaliser before the break, Whittingham hacking clear from inside the box as the ball cannoned around but Cardiff’s lead remained intact.
McGoldrick’s cross just evaded Grant Ward at the far post as the second-half got underway and Town were back on level terms on 51 minutes, Lawrence the creator and Varney the finisher.
Lawrence had a shout for penalty after another excellent run before he went down under a Matthew Connolly challenge, Cardiff then making a double change with Craig Noone and Anthony Pilkington joining the fray.
Junior Hoilett was well wide with his strike from distance, Ward much closer at the other end after Lawrence set him up.
Noone’s curler drifted wide before Cardiff were reduced to 10 men when Bamba completely lost his head 20 minutes from time after a Jonathan Douglas challenge and was eventually shown a red card after two minutes of mayhem when he appeared to want to fight the world.
Freddie Sears and Pitman replaced Ward and Varney, Cardiff forced to reinforce their numbers at the back with Lambert making way for Bruno Ecuele Manga.
Jonathan Douglas made way for Teddy Bishop as Town camped around the Cardiff goal, McGoldrick again going close with a right foot strike.
McGoldrick was wide with a free-kick as Blues pressed for the winner but Cardiff, to their credit threatened on the break themselves in the last five minutes and it needed a great save from Bialkowski to keep out Sean Morrison’s header.
Town: Bialkowski, Knudsen, Chambers, Berra, Webster, Skuse, Douglas (Bishop 75), Ward (Sears 71), Lawrence, Varney (Pitman 71), McGoldrick. Subs not used: Gerken, Emmanuel, Williams, Bru. Booked: Lawrence, Chambers.
Cardiff: Amos, Peltier, Bennett (Pilkington 56), Morrison, Whittingham, Bamba, Connolly, Gunnarsson, Lambert (Ecuele-Manga 72), Harris (Noone 56), Hoilett. Subs not used: Wilson, Ralls, Richardson, Zohore. Sent-off: Bamba. Booked: Connolly, Gunnarsson, Hoilett.