Soccer-Jones strikes early but Cardiff are held at Blackburn

Aug 8 (Reuters) - Relegated Cardiff City's powerful striker Kenwyne Jones netted the first goal of the new English soccer season after 18 minutes of their Championship clash at Blackburn Rovers on Friday but the Welsh side were held to a 1-1 draw.

His first strike in 552 minutes since scoring on his Cardiff debut in the Premier League in February was not enough to secure victory as the hosts responded with a fine Tom Cairney goal just before the break in an uninspiring affair at Ewood Park.

Cardiff manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer set his team up in an attacking formation with three strikers, led by Jones, but the Norwegian was left frustrated as Blackburn, who were Premier League champions in 1995, refused to be dominated.

Jones opened the scoring with a far post header to confirm Cardiff's early momentum - and status among the favourites for a quick return from the second tier - and remained an aerial threat until he was withdrawn in the second half.

By then Blackburn had clawed their way back into the game, Cairney having equalised with a left-foot shot from 20 metres five minutes before halftime, and the Lancashire team managed by Gary Bowyer enjoyed most of the possession in the second half.

Cardiff were pushed back but defended solidly and restricted Blackburn to a few chances in the closing stages as both sides appeared satisfied to avoid defeat on the opening day.

Fulham, who were relegated with Cardiff last season, open their campaign with a visit to Ipswich Town on Saturday before the third team relegated from the Premier League, Norwich City, visit promoted Wolverhampton Wanderers on Sunday. (Writing by Tim Collings; Editing by Ken Ferris)