Coventry City's valiant second half display could not stop them suffering a Capital One Cup first round exit after a 2-1 defeat to Cardiff City at Sixfields.
Guido Burgstaller gave the Sky Blues a nightmare start with his second half opener and substitute Kadeem Harris added a second with 13 minutes to go.
Shaun Miller came off the bench to grab one back for Coventry two minutes later but despite an enthusiastic push in the final moments Cardiff held one to earn a second round berth
Sky Blues boss Steven Pressley named four changes to his side for the cup clash with the Bluebirds, bringing in goalkeeper Lee Burge and defender Jack Finch to make their competitive debuts along with midfielders John Fleck and Billy Daniels in place of Ryan Alllsop, Conor Thomas and the injured Reda Johnson and Marcus Tudgay.
It was not the best start for City who found themselves behind after just three minutes courtesy of a fortunate opener from Burgstaller. Not fortunate in the finsih but in the way the ball fell at his feet as it cannoned around the Sky Blues area, the Austrian swept home a finish across the body of Burge to put the Bluebirds in front.
The goal though was a flashpoint in a relatively settled first 25 minutes, the midfield battle only really broken apart when Aron Gunnarsson played a short ball into Declan John in the City.
John fired at the inside of the near post but was denied by a strong-wristed save by Burge who parried the ball behind.
Cardiff started the second half with a stinging effort from Joe Ralls which Burge dealt with confidently three minutes after the restart.
The Sky Blues did manage to craft their own first real chance of the game when Jim O'Brien lofted in a cross for Jordan Clarke whose looping header beat Simon Moore in the Cardiff goal but dropped just wide of his far post.
Josh McQuoid then went close four minutes before the hour when a cheeky chipped through ball from Swanson found the striker who pulled the trigger first time but never quite caught the ball as it went wide.
Jim O'Brien then registered a shot on target when he twisted and turned Kevin Theophile before shooting at goal from a tight angle inside the area, Simon Moore though showed he was equal to the effort after getting his body behind it.
City's best chance fell to substitute Shaun Miller after 77 minutes though. A precision crossfield ball from John Fleck fell into the path of Miller after it beat the head of Theophile and it set the striker goalward but his atttempted lob over Moore also took it over the bar.
Just two minutes later though Cardiff had doubled their lead courtesy of a link up between a pair of their own subs. Mats Daehli got to the Sky Blues' byline and tapped a simple ball across the face of goal allowing Kadeem Harris the simplest of finishes.
No sooner had they built a comfortable cushion though Coventry clawed half of it back. Ryan Haynes swept a stunning cross into the box for Miller who was waiting to fire a first time finish past Moore.
The goal gave the Sky Blues a renewed sense of belief and they made the final moments nervy for the visitors. Two minutes into an added four Andy Webster's header from a corner nearly grazed the far post.
Attendance: 1,382 (359 away)
Coventry City: Burge, Willis, Pugh (Haynes 50), Webster (c), Clarke, Finch, O'Brien, Swanson, Fleck, Daniels (Miller 60), McQuoid (Maddison 68)
Subs: Allsop (GK), G Thomas, Phillips, Lawton
Cardiff City: Moore, John, Bo-Kyung (O'Sullivan 82), Eikram, Connolly, Gunnarsson (c), Ralls, Maynard, Theophile, Burgstaller (Daehli 66), Barnum-Bobb (Harris 66)
Subs: Velikonja, Wilson, James, Owen