Callum Paterson’s fourth goal since being made Cardiff City’s centre-forward was enough for a hard fought 1-0 win over Southampton.
The Bluebirds were good value for the win, which begins the reign of Ralph Hassenhuttl at Saints with defeat.
The new Southampton boss had shaken things up with six change, while Neil Warnock made just the two – very important – alterations.
Joe Ralls was dropped after his penalty miss at West Ham, Junior Hoilett sat out and the attacking pair of Josh Murphy and Nathaniel Mendez-Laing were reinstated.
Charlie Austin was picked to lead the Southampton line and the English centre-forward was involved early on, flicking two half chances wide.
Cardiff looked to their usual weapons – set pieces and counter-attacks – with Sean Morrison’s Cruyff turn in the box leading to a scrambling clearance from the Saints defence following a Bluebirds corner.
Mendez-Laing and Murphy both steamed clear after Cardiff forced errors in the visitors’ midfield, but neither had the composure to apply a final touch.
Cardiff found Alex McCarthy in good form. The England goalkeeper smothered from Murphy and then tipped Mendez-Laing’s stinging shot round the post to keep it goalless at the break.
The closest Southampton came was when Paterson’s headed clearance from Matt Targett’s corner bounced off the Cardiff crossbar – though home fans were unhappy with referee Jon Moss for missing a blatant foul in the build-up.
Both sides jostled for supremacy after the half time interval with the rain teeming down. Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg fired a shot over, but otherwise chances were few and far between until Paterson bullied his way beyond a ponderous Jannic Vestergaard.
It was Camarasa’s through ball that the Dane failed to clear and Paterson had the composure to stroke into the corner and spark joyous scenes in the crowd.
Morrison spurned a huge headed chance to make it 2-0 but was then crucial in keeping it at 1-0, clearing off the line when Neil Etheridge couldn’t hold James Ward-Prowse’s low cross. The Bluebirds held on for a vital victory – their fourth home triumph in five games.
Cardiff: Etheridge; Ecuele Manga, Morrison, Bamba, Bennett; Gunnarsson, Camarasa, Arter (Ralls, 90); Mendez-Laing (Hoilett, 67), Murphy (Murphy, 85), Paterson.
Subs not used: Smithies, Peltier, Decordova-Reid, Madine
Southampton: McCarthy; Valery (Stephens, 45) , Bednarek, Vestergaard, Targett; Romeu (Ward-Prowse, 80), Hojbjerg; Armstrong, Lemina, Redmond; Austin (Gabbiadini, 75) .
Subs not used: Gunn, Hoedt, Yoshida, El-Younoussi.
Recap how the game unfolded below.