The Bluebirds sit just three points outside of the play-off spots following victory over in-form Preston North End, Anthony Pilkington with both goals.
The home side exerted some early pressure, shifting the ball from left to right with Lex Immers coming inches away from connecting with a Scott Malone cross.
On 17 minutees, after a quiet passage of play, midfielder Aron Gunnarsson tried his luck from distance but his volley was caught by on-loan Anders Lindegaard in the North End goal.
Moments later, the Bluebirds went even closer as Anthony Pilkington’s cross from the right evaded everyone in the box and hit the far post only to be saved by Lindegaard on the line.
The Irishman was involved again as his reverse ball found Immers and the Dutch forward returned the favour to set up Pilkington, who fired over from the corner of the area.
THE DESERVED BREAKTHROUGH
It was the home side who would break the deadlock a minute from half-time when they were awarded a penalty. Pilkington dribbling into the area before drawing a foul from opposition captain Tom Clarke. The Republic of Ireland international stepped up and duly dispatched the spot-kick to give the hosts a deserved lead at the break.
Pilkington went close again after the restart as he volleyed Malone’s cross at goal from close range but the impressive Lindegaard was equal to it.
Preston did have the ball in the net just past the hour mark but Joe Garner was ruled offside before Adam Reach could slot the ball home.
Iceland captain Gunnarsson then had another go from range but this time his low shot flew just wide. Forward Pilkington had another chance to double the lead but his half-volley from inside the area was deflected over.
CLINICAL PILKINGTON, AND THE FINAL FLOURISH
With 12 minutes remaining, the Bluebirds were awarded their second penalty of the afternoon as Tom Lawrence was pulled back in the box. Pilkington took up spot kick duties for a second time in the absence of Peter Whittingham, beating Lindegaard once again to double the advantage.
In the 87th minute, Preston halved the deficit as substitute Callum Robinson stroked a pull back into the bottom corner. This proved to only be a consolation as the Bluebirds held out to secure a deserved victory, moving Slade’s men to within three points of the play-off places ahead of the Severnside derby with Bristol City.
FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 2-1 PRESTON NORTH END (Pilkington 44’, 79’; Robinson 87’)
Cardiff City: Marshall ©, Peltier, Manga, Ralls, Pilkington (Dikagcoi, 82), Connolly, Gunnarsson, O’Keefe, Immers (Zohore, 90), Malone, Lawrence (Ameobi, 90). Subs Not Used: Moore, Macheda, Oshilaja, Saadi.
Preston North End: Lindegaard, Cunnigham, Clarke ©, Wright, Johnson (Hugill, 63), Gallagher (Pearson, 84), Garner, Woods, Browne, Huntington (Robinson, 45), Reach. Subs Not Used: Hudson, Vermijl, Kilkenny, Welsh.