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Cardiff City battled back from two goals down to secure a 2-2 draw with Charlton in Neil Harris’ first game in charge of the Bluebirds over the weekend.
The Welsh side were behind at the interval courtesy of goals from Conor Gallagher and Jonathan Leko, but they fought back in the second half to level the scores through Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and Lee Tomlin.
Cardiff might even feel disappointed to have missed out on the three points given they also missed a penalty in the second period when Junior Hoilett’s feeble effort from 12 yards was kept out by Dillon Phillips.
This incident arrived early in the second period with Cardiff 2-0 down, but Mendez-Laing was then on hand to open the visitors’ scoring soon later, and the winger looked good value for his goal during an impressive performance out wide.
Mendez-Laing was an integral figure when the Bluebirds gained promotion from the Championship in the 2017/18 season, but he has not been as central to Cardiff’s fortunes this term, with his game time having been somewhat limited by Neil Warnock.
The 27-year-old has now made a total of 11 appearances for the South Wales side this term, with just seven of these having come in the starting line-up, but he produced his best showing of the season against Charlton over the weekend.
Harris may have taken something of a punt by including the former Rochdale man from the start, but Mendez-Laing did not disappoint his new boss as he showed his pace, strength and end product during the clash at The Valley.
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The winger halved the deficit when he fired the ball home after Leandro Bacuna saw his effort blocked, while he also provided a constant threat on the flank with his trickery and direct threat going forward.
Cardiff supporters will hope this marks the start of Mendez-Laing’s re-emergence after struggling to find consistency in recent seasons, and it represents a great time for the winger to start fresh given the managerial change at the club.
There was a feeling that the system had gone stale under the previous regime with Warnock in charge, and this appeared to have an effect on the players with a number of key man failing to hit their best form this campaign.
Mendez-Laing is one of those stars who has so far struggled to deliver consistently strong showings this season, but his display at The Valley on Saturday suggests he is now looking to start on a clean slate following Harris’ arrival at the club.