PROP Rob Sevenoaks was sent off five minutes from time for using an elbow at a roiling maul and with him went Ebbw Vale’s hopes of ending Cardiff’s unbeaten run, writes Rob Cole.

Up until that point the Steelmen had looked more than capable of pulling off a shock, but once they lost their tighthead they had to face a line-out five metres from their line and home hooker Ethan Lewis bagged a vital try.

Gareth Thompson stroked over the conversion from near the touchline and with that went Ebbw’s chances of leaving with a bonus point.

All they had to console themselves with was the fact that the last time they turned up at the Arms Park they had conceded 11 tries in a 75-17 defeat.

Ebbw lost flanker Owen Young with a knee injury after only four minutes and he was replaced by Dawid Rubasniak. The change didn’t upset the rhythm of the Steelmen up front and they gave as good as they got in all quarters on a very difficult night.

It took Cardiff until the 21st minute to open their account when a moment of magic from Dan Fish finally unlocked the Ebbw defence.

They had penalty advantage 10 metres out and Fish grubber kicked through to the side of the posts and had the speed to win the race for the touchdown.

Ben Thomas couldn’t convert, but at least the scoreboard had started to move. It should have notched the first points for the visitors 10 minutes later, but this time it was Dan Haymond’s turn to have a dose of the ’yips’ off the kicking tee.

Haymond’s miss didn’t dent the confidence or desire of his teammates and Ebbw’s speed off the line, and their competitive attitude at the breakdown, made life increasingly difficult for the table-toppers.

The half ended with Ewan Rosser almost capitalising on an error at a defensive scrum 15 metres out from the home line, but a tiny knock-on denied Ebbw a try.

Ebbw kept the squeeze on Cardiff in the second half and twice charged down their scrum half, Ben Williams, to almost set up a try form Dan Babos.

He won the race for the ball after it was hacked over the home line, but was adjudged to have been in front of the kicker.

Cardiff changed half their pack in the 53rd minute, brining on experience in skipper Morgan Allen, Cardiff Blues hooker Ethan Lewis, Alex Everett and Peter Lloyd, but they couldn’t stem the tide of attacks from the visitors.

The pressure from the Steelmen eventually turned into points on the hour mark when another offside decision against the home defence allowed Haymond to step up and atone for his earlier miss with a simple strike. That cut the gap to two points and left the game on a knife edge.

Dai Langdon thought he had picked off an interception try from 30 metres out, only to be hauled back by the referee for offside. Then came the red card and the heartbreak score from Lewis.

Scorers: Cardiff: Try: D Fish, E Lewis; Con: G Thompson.

Ebbw Vale: Pen: D Haymond

Cardiff: Edd Howley; Mason Grady, Max Llewellyn, Ben Thomas, Barney Nightingale; Dan Fish, Ben Williams; Thomas Davies, Evan Yardley, Ollie Drake, Macauley Cook, James Ratti, James Thomas (captain), Zach O’Driscoll, James Botham Reps: Brynley Toms, Ethan Lewis, Peter Lloyd, Morgan Allen, Alex Everett, Ethan Lloyd, Gareth Thompson, Joe Scrivens

Ebbw Vale: Dan Haymond; Carwyn Penny, Paul King, Ethan Phillips, Ewan Rosser; David Langdon, Dan Babos; Luke Garrett, Joe Franchi, Rob Sevenoaks, Lance Randall, Ashley Sweet (captain), Dan Hill, Owen Young, Lewis Young Reps: Ross Jones, Rhys Francis, Carl Sully, Max Ayling, Dawid Rubasniak, Matthew Flanagan, Ollie Lewis, Dafydd Thomas.

Referee: Aled Evans

Star Man: Lance Randall (Ebbw Vale)