Derby park the bus and get a point
Cardiff City remain top of the Championship table after a goalless draw against Derby County.
The closest either team came to scoring in a tepid first half was Junior Hoilett’s long-range effort for the hosts which went narrowly over.
After the break Nathaniel Mendez-Laing shot wide and a cross from Derby’s Craig Forsyth hit the post.
The visitors almost snatched a late winner but David Nugent was denied by a fine save from Neil Etheridge.
Wolverhampton Wanderers’ win at Burton Albion means Cardiff’s lead at the Championship summit is reduced to one point.
The Bluebirds had reclaimed their place at the top with a thrilling 3-1 win over Leeds United at a bustling Cardiff City Stadium on Tuesday.
Four days later, however, the atmosphere was subdued as neither the hosts nor Derby mustered any clear scoring opportunities in an uneventful first half.
Cardiff-born Joe Ledley made his second start for Derby since joining them as a free agent in September
The lack of intensity was perhaps related to the fact the two teams had only made one change each from their midweek fixtures.
Things improved in the second half as Tom Huddlestone’s low shot deflected wide.
Then, in the space of seconds, Forsyth’s cross hit the post before a swift Cardiff counter-attack ended with Mendez-Laing having an effort well blocked by Curtis Davies.
Derby had a late spell of pressure as Nugent’s powerful close-range strike was well saved by Etheridge but the visitors’ efforts were in vain as their winless run in the league stretched to four games.
Cardiff City manager Neil Warnock said:
“I’m only partly disappointed because I thought it was there to be won. If we’d have lifted our game a little more we could’ve won the game. The next best thing is to tick on, keep your home record intact and move on.
“In 11 games I think we’ve played six of the best teams and we’ve done very well. Seven points in a week is a tremendous effort.
“I was slightly disappointed with the first half, I didn’t think we’re on the front foot. One or two lads possibly not used to two games in such a short space but I can’t fault them at all.”
Derby County manager Gary Rowett said:
“I thought we were the better side, I thought we deserved to win. I don’t think anyone can disagree with that in the second half.
“We passed the ball well but didn’t quite have the little bit at the end of it. We felt there were opportunities to pass against Cardiff and stop them having any real momentum in terms of putting balls in the box and being direct.
“I thought when we needed to we defended well with that direct play. I thought we were magnificent in dealing with that and not many sides have been able to do it.”
Mendez Laing 7
Tomlin 6 (69 mins Damour)
Feeney 6 (83 mins Hoilett)