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Page last updated at 20:57 GMT, Tuesday, 26 August 2008 21:57 UK

Cardiff 2-1 MK Dons

Ross McCormack
Ross McCormack's penalty gave Cardiff a first-half lead

Cardiff City held off MK Dons to reach the third round of the Carling Cup but their victory came at a price.

The hosts lost full-backs Darcy Blake and Tony Capaldi to early injuries, then Riccardo Scimeca was carried off following Drissa Diallo's tackle.

Ross McCormack converted the resulting penalty, with Peter Whittingham adding a superb second-half free-kick.

Dons pulled a goal back with 15 minutes left, Sean O'Hanlon heading in a free-kick, but Cardiff held their nerve.

After the injury disruptions caused by the departures of Capaldi and Blake, the first shot on goal finally arrived in the 26th minute.

But Whittingham's 25-yard strike did not trouble visiting goalkeeper Willy Gueret as it whistled wide of the post.

However, the Dons keeper had to be on top form four minutes before the break to deny Bluebirds debutant Eddie Johnson, on loan from Fulham, pushing the USA striker's shot onto the bar.

The home side eventually broke the deadlock in the 45th minute, although their joy at scoring was tempered by yet another injury blow.

Scimeca was scythed down in the box by Diallo and appeared to suffer a serious injury as a result of the tackle, departing the field on a stretcher.

McCormack tucked the penalty away to give Cardiff a half-time lead and the hosts grabbed a second goal after 58 minutes, as Whittingham curled in a fine 25-yard free-kick.

The visitors did manage to pull a goal back with 15 minutes remaining, as O'Hanlon rose to head home a right-wing cross, but Cardiff held on.

Cardiff manager Dave Jones:
"We're not firing on all cylinders but with Ross McCormack working his socks off and taking his goal-scoring record to five in five games, we are doing all right.

"We have players here who need time to bed in and Eddie Johnson is one of those, but we will soon see the best of him.

"The squad has been tested, especially with the three injuries in the first half, but we like to give our youngsters a chance and I am pleased that Aaron Morris was given an opportunity."

MK Dons manager Roberto Di Matteo:
"I am very proud of my team as they put up a great performance against a side from a higher division.

"We conceded from two set-pieces but despite that we defended well.

"We expected them to be better than us but generally I was very satisfied with the way we played.

"We were missing one or two first-team players but it gave me the chance to see how others perform and that was worthwhile."

Cardiff: Heaton, Blake (Parry 20), Roger Johnson, Purse, Capaldi (Comminges 10), Whittingham, McPhail, Scimeca (Morris 45), Ledley, Eddie Johnson, McCormack.
Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Bothroyd, Dennehy, Thompson.

Goals: McCormack 45 pen, Whittingham 58.

Milton Keynes Dons: Gueret, Stirling (O'Hanlon 65), Diallo, Lewington (King 65), Cummings, Johnson, Mitchell, Navarro, Chicksen, Baldock, Dobson.
Subs Not Used: Abbey, Wright, Regan, Leven, Belson.

Booked: Stirling.

Goals: O'Hanlon 75.

Att: 6,334.

Ref: Rob Shoebridge (Derbyshire).

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