Cardiff earn a point with a goalless draw away at Stoke
Stoke and Cardiff preserved their unbeaten runs as the points were shared in a goalless draw in the Potteries.
The hosts continued their resurgence following three successive wins, while the Bluebirds dropped out of the top six despite a third outing without defeat.
Cardiff forward Callum Robinson looked to continue his rich vein of form against Stoke and came closest to a decider, but his deflected effort was pushed on to the post.
The Potters’ best opportunities fell to Dwight Gayle, who blazed wide and was then denied by Jak Alnwick, both before the interval.
Despite a high tempo end to the fixture, neither side could find a decisive moment of quality to clinch victory.
Cardiff started promisingly as they looked to consolidate their position in the SkyBet Championship play-offs.
Inside six minutes, the travelling Bluebirds had their first effort on goal with Mark McGuinness heading straight at Jack Bonham.
A lively Robinson, who had scored three goals in as many games versus Stoke in his career, also came close early on.
The Republic of Ireland international nearly pounced on a slack Michael Rose back-pass, but an alert Bonham rushed out to diffuse the danger.
Robinson then nearly turned provider when his enticing free-kick delivery wreaked havoc, only for Yakou Meite to head wide from close range.
And Erol Bulut’s side sustained their control beyond the half-hour mark with McGuinness again going close with a glancing header.
The Potters gradually grew into the tie and threatened to snatch the advantage against the run of play.
A delicate Wouter Burger ball found Gayle in a promising position, but the forward snatched at his chance and dragged wide.
The hosts finished the half strongly thanks to Mehdi Leris and Gayle, with the latter denied by stopper Alnwick.
Cardiff nearly broke the deadlock prior to the interval when Robinson’s cutback wrongfooted Bonham, but the Stoke stopper tipped on to the post.
The visitors’ threat was not swayed by the break as Bulut’s outfit continued to impose themselves after the restart.
Karlan Grant nearly notched his second goal of the season after the hour mark, but his strike on the swivel drifted agonisingly wide.
Like the first period, the hosts began slowly but Michael Rose’s free header from a corner handed the Bluebirds a warning sign.
As the clock ticked on and legs began to tire, Alex Neil’s side flexed their attacking muscle but Josh Laurent blazed a volley harmlessly over the target.
And their wastefulness was almost punished in stoppage time by Ryan Wintle, who saw a goal-bound strike stopped impressively by Bonham.
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