Sheffield Wednesday manager Garry Monk criticised the officials after Lee Tomlin’s late free-kick ensured a 1-1 draw and prevented the Owls from moving into the Sky Bet Championship’s automatic promotion places.
The Cardiff substitute curled the ball home from 25 yards out just two minutes after entering the action to leave the Owls side with a single point from their dominant performance.
Kadeem Harris looked to have come back to haunt Cardiff by creating Julian Borner’s first-half goal.
The former Bluebird used his pace to beat Marlon Pack and send a shot towards goal before the German defender diverted it away from Neil Etheridge and in.
Cardiff boss Neil Warnock sent striker Danny Ward on in place of Leandro Bacuna with only 34 minutes on the clock as he searched for an answer to their first-half struggles.
Ward had Cardiff’s first shot on target after 70 minutes before Josh Murphy’s deflected cross looped over the head of Cameron Dawson and flashed just past the post.
But the breakthrough finally came after Tomlin dusted himself off after he was tripped by Massimo Luongo and sent a bending effort into the corner from 25 yards out to level the scores, with a little help from the distracting presence of Aden Flint.
And Monk was annoyed with referee Keith Stroud and his officials for missing the giant distraction.
“We are frustrated that we didn’t get the win because we had enough chances to make it comfortable,” he said.
“The first 50 or 60 minutes was exactly what we wanted. We didn’t allow them to turn the game into a physical scrap, which is what they wanted.
“But we just didn’t have control in that final period, although I am disappointed with the goal. If it had been a legitimate goal, fair enough, but I am told it wasn’t even a foul for the free-kick.
“Then, they had one of their players doing star jumps, trying to distract our keeper. How they missed that, I don’t know – because it’s not hard to spot – a 6ft 5in player doing star jumps. But there we are – it is what it is.
“But there are a lot of positives to be moving forward with, the lads dug in, put their bodies on the line and showed great spirit when they had to in that last 30 minutes.”
The draw maintained Cardiff’s unbeaten home record in the league, and manager Warnock believes they can maintain their run all season.
“I was disappointed to concede like we did and I had to make a change early doors, we would have been beaten easily if we hadn’t done that,” said Warnock.
“I’d like to go unbeaten all season if I’m honest, I don’t think it’s impossible, but I’d like to win away now next week.
“We’ve got two tough away games and it’s about time we won away on the law of averages.
“I think we can get better second half of the season, there are one or two areas we are working on and we’ve got players coming back in. I think we can be in the mix, I’m sure of it.
“It could be a big momentum swing with that late goal. These three games this week are tough, but they’re tough for the people we’re playing against.
“And I’m pleased for Tomlin, that’s probably the best week’s training I’ve seen him do.
“This week he has been superb. He’s moaned a bit but that’s him at his best. He’s been outstanding this week”