Great Britain

Cardiff City 0-0 Preston: Bluebirds battle for hard-earned point in goalless stalemate

Cardiff City earned a hard-fought point against Preston after neither side were able to break the deadlock in the Welsh capital.

The Bluebirds were second best on the day, but a much improved defensive display ensures another point is in the bag and the wheels continue to tick over after what was a very tricky fixture.

While it might have made for pretty attritional viewing, the first half was exactly what Harris would have hoped for - uneventful.

City's sloppy starts had been putting them behind the eight ball in the last few weeks and, barring the odd shot from the impressive Billy Bodin and Sean Maguire, the Bluebirds looked relatively comfortable. Certainly in comparison to the last few weeks, anyway.

Too often in recent weeks the hosts had been giving themselves a mountain to climb in the second half after some lax defending.

But the back four, which included a fit-again Jazz Richards, kept an impressive Preston side at bay.

It was easy to see why Alex Neil's side are where they are in the table. Their press was sharp and unrelenting and their confidence in possession was notable.

But Aden Flint won his aerial duels, as did Curtis Nelson, while Richards and Lee Peltier were tenacious and scrappy in their tackling.

The best chance of the half for Cardiff came after Leandro Bacuna made a marauding run up the centre of the pitch before a tackle saw the ball fall into Lee Tomlin's path.

Lee Tomlin of Cardiff City is brought down by Paul Gallagher of Preston North End

Tomlin, City's man of the moment, looked to bend one into the far corner, but the sprawling Declan Rudd gleefully watched it skip by the upright to keep the scores level at the break.

Cardiff were arguably second best at half time, but they could take solace in the fact that they have improved as the games have wore on since Harris took over.

But it didn't prove the case after the break and the visitors continued to pile on the pressure.

It forced Harris into making a double change, which saw fans controversially cheer when Josh Murphy was substituted for Danny Ward.

The Bluebirds started to look far more settled, but then one moment of madness almost let them in. Nelson looked to have played a benign pass to Flint, but the defender let it go to Alan Browne. Fortunately, his tame shot was gathered by Neil Etheridge to save Flint's blushes.

It all looked to be meandering to a draw, but late on Ben Pearson, arguably the best player on either side, broke into the box and fizzed a shot towards the far corner, only for Etheridge to make another fantastic save to deny him.

Cardiff's attack lacked cutting edge. There was no late drama as there has been in recent weeks. No magic from Lee Tomlin or no last-gasp strike from Ward or Mendez-Laing.

But there was a vastly improved defensive display and that will be a big plus.

A point against this impressive Preston outfit is certainly not to be sniffed at, that's for sure.

Cardiff City XI: Etheridge; Peltier, Nelson, Flint, Richards; Pack, Bacuna; Mendez-Laing (Paterson 84), Tomlin, Murphy (Ward 61); Glatzel.(Madine 61)

Subs: Smithies, Vaulks, Whyte, Bamba.

Preston XI: Rudd, Clarke, Bauer, Huntington, Hughes, Pearson, Gallagher (Potts 84), Bodin (Stockley 86), Browne, Maguire, Barkhuizen (Nugent 73).

Subs: Hudson, Storey, Ledson, Harrop.

Referee: Jeremy Simpson

Attendance: 22,625