Aron Gunnarsson and Kenwyne Jones came closest for the Bluebirds as Russell Slade’s side played out a goalless Sky Bet Championship draw with Brighton & Hove Albion.
David Marshall returned from injury to make for his first appearance of 2015, while Craig Noone replaced new signing Eoin Doyle in manager Russell Slade’s second change from the draw at Hillsborough against Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday. Lee Peltier was fit enough to start after his precautionary substitution at the weekend, while Scott Malone passed a late fitness test.
Chris Hughton, whose Seagulls side travelled to Wales on the back of a 3-2 home defeat to Nottingham Forest at the weekend, made three changes to his line-up, with Leon Best, Beram Kayal and Jake Forster-Caskey coming in. Dale Stephens returned to the Brighton squad after a ten-month injury layoff.
An unorthodox pass from Aron Gunnarsson allowed Craig Noone to deliver the cross for the first chance of the game after nine minutes, though at a stretch, Kenwyne Jones couldn’t manage to make contact with the ball. Peter Whittingham’s free kick, won by Craig Noone after he was felled by the Israeli international Beram Kayal, was another which just needed a final touch to send it goalwards.
Sean Morrison went in bravely to head a Whittingham corner against the ground and over in the 17th minute, before another delivery from City’s number seven deflected softly off Bruno Ecuele Manga and into the hands of visiting goalkeeper David Stockdale. An offside call denied Leon Best the chance to re-direct João Teixeira’s free-kick which had been deflected his way.
With Stuart O’Keefe cautioned for a foul on Jake Forster-Caskey, Rohan Ince had the game’s next big chance as it approached the half-way mark, the former Chelsea youngster evading one challenge before making space for himself to have a goal-bound effort blocked. That was it for the first period, as a forty-five minutes of few chances came to a close.
HALF-TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Cardiff City substitution: Eoin Doyle on for Stuart O’Keefe (46 mins)
Russell Slade switched to a more attacking line-up for the second half, with Stuart O’Keefe being replaced by fellow January acquisition Eoin Doyle. Aron Gunnarsson’s deflected shot bounced kindly for David Stockdale as the Bluebirds began the second half on the offensive. Craig Noone’s cross was dangerous but needed a final touch to pose a challenge to Stockdale.
Conor McAleny was clearly aggrieved when Rohan Ince escaped any punishment for bundling the Everton loanee to the ground as he bore down on the Brighton goal, before a contentiously-awarded João Teixeira free-kick needed a touch from Marshall to be sent over the bar. A chaotic goalmouth scramble was eventually cleared by the Bluebirds with the home supporters in the Grange End’s hearts in their mouths.
Brighton & Hove Albion substitution: Chris O’Grady on for Leon Best (63 mins)
Spanish full-back Iñigo Calderón was cautioned for fouling Conor McAleny in the Cardiff City player’s last contribution of the match, Kadeem Harris coming on in the Everton attacker’s place.
Cardiff City substitution: Kadeem Harris on for Conor McAleny (68 mins)
Albion top-scorer Lewis Dunk headed João Teixeira’s free-kick narrowly wide before manager Chris Hughton also made an offensively-minded change, Kazenga Lua Lua entering play to influence the Brighton attack.
Brighton & Hove Albion substitution: Kazenga LuaLua on for Beram Kayal (70 mins)
Kenwyne Jones and Aron Gunnarsson both headed Peter Whittingham corners over the bar in quick succession as the Bluebirds turned up the pressure going into the last ten minutes. Jones had the best effort of the lot when he rose to head Craig Noone’s cross wide of the post on eighty-four minutes.
Brighton & Hove Albion substitution: Dale Stephens on for João Teixeira (85 mins)
Brighton’s third and final substitute Dale Stephens was ambitious in trying to chip David Marshall from the edge of the penalty area, before Bruno almost set Chris O’Grady through with a sweet through-ball. That was it, with referee Iain Williamson blowing his whistle to end the game goalless, this one ending all-square just as the game between the two sides at the AMEX earlier in the season.
FULL TIME: CARDIFF CITY 0-0 BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION
Cardiff City: Marshall ©, Peltier, Malone, Ecuele Manga, Whittingham, Jones, Noone, McAleny (Harris 68’), Gunnarsson, O’Keefe (Doyle 46’), S. Morrison. Subs not used: Fábio, Moore, Connolly, Adeyemi, Revell.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Stockdale, Bruno, Greer ©, Dunk, Best (O’Grady 63’), Caldéron, J. Teixeira (Stephens 85’), Forster-Caskey, Ince, Kayal (LuaLua 70’), J. Bennett. Subs not used: Walton, Hughes, Mackail-Smith, Halford.
Attendance: 19,206 (479 away)