HUDSON STRIKE HAILED BY MACKAY
Cardiff City manager Malky Mackay hailed goalscorer Mark Hudson after his incredible strike inched the Bluebirds closer to securing a play-off place in a 2-0 victory over Derby - their first home win in seven attempts.
Joe Mason bagged a 24th minute opener for his 11th goal of the season before captain Hudson scored from an astonishing 68 yards after the interval.
The stunning effort from well inside his own half left Derby goalkeeper Frank Fielding stranded and evoked memories of David Beckham's strike for Manchester United against Wimbledon at Selhurst Park in August 1996.
And Mackay believes Hudson's wonder goal in the 63rd minute was deliberate after his sixth-placed side moved four points clear of rivals Middlesbrough with just two league matches remaining.
Mackay said: "It's a great three points for us because it keeps the momentum going.
"We have ten points out of 12 and we have the longest unbeaten run of eight games in the division.
"Derby came care-free, but we soaked up their pressure and looked dangerous ourselves on the counter-attack, especially with the second goal.
"It was a real good piece of skill. Mark stepped out from the back ahead of the attacker, looked up and absolutely meant it. He executed it.
"Mark is an accomplished footballer and he saw him off the line. I'm delighted for him and the goal capped off an exceptional performance.
"Chris Eagles scored one for me at Watford against Brighton, but it wasn't as long as that.
"I don't care if it was better than Beckham's. It was our second goal and meant we got three points.
"We know three more points will seal our play-off place. We have a tough game against Leeds United on Saturday and we will concentrate on that, rather than look at other results."
Mason, a £250,000 signing from Plymouth last summer, handed Cardiff a 24th minute lead when the Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker slotted home from close-range after ex-Rams forward Kenny Miller crashed a shot against the post.
Either side of Mason's opening goal, the visitors created numerous chances with Nathan Tyson, Paul Green and Jeff Hendrick all guilty of missing clear-cut opportunities in the first period.
But Hudson showed Derby the way when the influential skipper sealed maximum points with his remarkable right-footed shot.
Derby manager Nigel Clough said: "I've only seen goals like that on the television. As soon as he hit it we knew it was in. He hit it so cleanly.
"But we certainly had a go. We created enough chances to win the game comfortably and our general play was outstanding.
"I was really pleased with our performance. But it just needed someone to put the ball in the back of the net."
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