CARDIFF looked on course to be the scourge of their Coca-Cola Championship rivals Barnsley once again as goals from Joe Ledley and Michael Chopra gave them a comfortable half-time lead at Ninian Park.

Ledley maintained his knack of scoring against the Reds with the opening goal after just three minutes - converting a Peter Whittingham corner.

And things went from bad to worse for the Tykes just before the interval as Chopra tapped in from close range after Whittingham's shot was spilt by Heinz Muller.

In truth the lead was no more than City deserved as they looked the more threatening throughout against a Barnsley side who have not beaten their Welsh opponents in their last seven attempts.

The hosts was given a huge boost before kick off with Chopra able to take his place in the starting line up after shaking off a heel problem. The former Tykes striker was one of three changes to Dave Jones' starting XI with Eddie Johnson and Darcy Blake also handed starts.

Barnsley manager Simon Davey made one change to the side which beat QPR 2-1 at Oakwell on Saturday with Jamal Campbell-Ryce replacing Anderson De Silva.

But the Tykes soon found themselves up against it with Ledley netting the opener after just three minutes.

The highly-rated midfielder, who netted the only goal in the FA Cup semi-final last season, blasted home from close range after an inswinging Whittingham corner had caused havoc in the Reds' penalty area.

The goal seemed to lift the home side and they were soon into their passing rhythm with the Barnsley midfield, who received glowing praise from their manager after their performance against QPR at the weekend, struggling to get hold of the ball.

After a quiet period in the first half City almost doubled their lead after 30 minutes but Whittingham's curling free kick was tipped round the post by Reds goalkeeper Muller.

The reprieve did not last long however as Chopra struck in the 43rd minute.

Jon Macken hauled Barnsley back into the reckoning with a goal on 62 minutes.

But Peter Whittingham put the game out of the South Yorkshiremen's reach with an 88th minute goal.
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Ian Wilkinson

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