Cardiff 0-0 MK Dons: Bluebirds fail to close Championship playoff gap
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 06/02/16 6:14pm
Cardiff failed to close the gap on the Championship play-off places as they were held to a 0-0 draw at home to MK Dons.
The Welsh club could have moved to within two points of the top six but a 12th draw of the campaign leaves Cardiff in ninth place in the table.
Russell Slade's side are now unbeaten in 11 league games at home but have not won back-to-back since matches since September and it could cost them a play-off spot.
Slade made one change from the side who won away at Huddersfield with new loan signing Tom Lawrence replacing Lex Immers.
The Leicester forward was immediately involved, chasing down a lost cause to steal the ball from Joe Walsh and forcing an early opportunity.
MK Dons went close to opening the scoring after 10 minutes when Jake Forster-Caskey curled a free-kick narrowly over the crossbar with David Marshall beaten.
Matthew Connolly produced a last-ditch tackle to stop former Cardiff striker Nicky Maynard just after the half hour mark but chances were few and far between for much of the first half.
It was not until the last minutes of the half that the home support had something to shout about, first when Sammy Ameobi's shot was deflected just wide of the post.
Lawrence then hit the post with a header from Peter Whittingham's cross before Stuart O'Keefe brought a superb save out of MK Dons goalkeeper David Martin with a close-range header.
Whittingham went close with a drive from 25 yards on the stroke of half-time but it remained goalless at the break.
O'Keefe had a big chance to put Cardiff ahead less than 60 seconds after the restart but he shot straight at Martin after being put through on goal by Scott Malone.
Left-back Malone then tested Martin with a shot from the edge of the box which the visiting goalkeeper did well to tip over the bar.
Cardiff kept up the pressure on the visitors and Lawrence was the next player to go close with a low drive after dancing past a couple of defenders.
An acrobatic effort from Anthony Pilkington forced Martin into another save but the home side were struggling to find a way past Martin.
Maynard almost made his old side pay for their wastefulness when he breezed past Connelly in the Cardiff box but he blazed over from eight yards.
There was controversy with 25 minutes to play when referee Kevin Johnson stopped play to deal with an injury to Lawrence just before Ameobi put the ball in the back of the net for the home side.
Cardiff went in search of a winner in the final 10 minutes but once again Martin was on hand to deny Pilkington with a smart stop with his feet.