Cardiff City 0 Preston North End 0 - Match report on a stalemate in South Wales for the Lilywhites
Preston North End took a point from their clash with Cardiff City but really it should have been all three,
The Lilywhites had by far the better of the chances in the lunchtime clash in South Wales, with Sean Maguire, Billy Bodin, Alan Browne and man of the match Ben Pearson all going close.
What the draw did do though, was end a run of three straight away defeats.
The Bluebirds hardly laid a glove on North End in terms of chances, the closest they went being a late chip from Lee Tomlin which Declan Rudd helped over the bar.
Had Alex Neil's men left empty-handed it would have been a travesty, a point the least they deserved.
In the first half, Magure twice put chances into the side-netting while Bodin forced keeper Neil Etheridge into a good save.
Further opportunities followed and with three minutes left, Pearson was denied by another Etheridge save.
North End's side had shown two changes from the one which beat Luton the week before, Tom Clarke and Tom Barkhuizen returning to the starting XI.
Clarke took the place of the suspended Darnell Fisher at right-back, with Barkhuizen preferred up front to David Nugent who dropped down to the bench.
PNE were in a 4-2-3-1 shape, Barkhuizen leading the line with Maguire on the left and Bodin on the right - Browne in the No.10 role.
The visitors were the better side in the first half and created some very good chances.
Bodin lifted an early shot over the bar after being found by Pearson's lay-off.
In the 12th minute, Browne's excellent pass played in Maguire down the right-hand side of the box but the Irishman fired a first-time shot into the side-netting at the near post.
Three minutes later, Paul Gallagher's diagonal ball released Bodin down the right-channel, his cross finding Maguire beyond the far post who put a header into the side-netting.
Browne and Maguire linked-up to good affect to find Bodin in the box in the 24th minute, his shot saved well low down by Bluebirds goalkeeper Etheridge.
Cardiff's first real attempt of the contest came just before the half-hour mark as Leandro Bacuna led a counter-attack down the middle of the pitch.
His pass found Tomlin who drove a low shot wide of the target from the edge of the box.
Another great chance fell Preston's way just before half-time, Pearson dropping a superb ball over the top of the Cardiff defence to free Maguire down the right hand side of the box.
With Bodin well placed for a pull-back in the middle, Maguire chanced his arm with a low shot which flashed across the face of the goal and wide of the far post.
Barkhuizen, who had a painful start to the second half when he fell and got a knee in the lower back trying to keep the ball in the play, set up a decent chance in the 54th minute.
He chased a ball down the right, his cross into the box finding Browne who laid it off to Gallagher.
On the edge of the 'D', Gallagher worked it on to his right foot and curled a shot inches wide of the target.
The industrious Pearson tried his luck with a shot from more than 25 yards which travelled over the bar.
A golden chance - one handed to them on a plate by the hosts - was squandered by North End with 69 minutes on the clock.
Cardiff centre-half Curtis Nelson played a square pass without looking, Browne intercepting and running towards goal.
But with Maguire going on the overlap, Browne fired tamely at Etheridge from the edge of the box.
Bodin - twice - and Browne both put shots too high before Pearson went close in the 87th minute.
North End broke on the counter-attack, Pearson getting away down the inside right channel and cutting in field before hitting a right-foot shot which Etheridge dived to parry.
In stoppage-time, Rudd got fingertips to a chip from Tomlin to help it over the bar - that probably the closest Cardiff came to scoring all game.
Cardiff: Etheridge, Peltier, Flint, Nelson, Richards, Mendez-Laing (Paterson 84), Pack, Bacuna, Murphy (Ward 61), Tomlin, Glatzel (Madine 61). Subs (not used): Vaulks, Paterson, Whyte, Bamba, Ward, Smithies.
PNE: Rudd, Clarke, Bauer, Huntington, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Potts 84), Bodin (Stockley 86), Browne, Maguire, Barkhuizen (Nugent 73). Subs (not used): Storey, Ledson, Harrop, Hudson.
Referee: Jeremy Simpson (Carnforth)