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Cardiff and Preston share spoils in goalless stalemate

Cardiff City v Preston North End – Emirates FA Cup – Third Round – Cardiff City Stadium
(Image credit: Simon Galloway)

Cardiff missed the chance to climb above bitter rivals Swansea in the Sky Bet Championship table after being held to a 0-0 stalemate at home to Preston.

Swansea’s defeat at Blackpool meant a victory for Steve Morison’s men at the Cardiff City Stadium would have seen them leapfrog their near-neighbours in mid-table.

But a point apiece sees the Bluebirds remain 17th and North End stay 13th.

Neither side managed a shot until the 30th minute when Preston’s Brad Potts fired straight at Cardiff goalkeeper Alex Smithies from the right of the 18-yard box.

The hosts did not trouble Smithies’ opposite number Daniel Iversen at all before the break, with only two efforts of any note and both in the final minute of the half.

The first, from Jordan Hugill, was blocked by the imposing figure of Bambo Diaby and the second, from Alfie Doughty, was high over Iversen’s bar.

Cardiff’s Cody Drameh, on loan from Leeds, did his best to inject some drama into the contest early on with a lunging tackle on Andrew Hughes but referee James Linington kept his cards in his pocket.

Linington also showed little interest in Preston’s appeals for a penalty after 25 minutes, despite Mark McGuinness appearing to drag down Emil Riis in the six-yard box.

The second period began much as the first had ended with neither side threatening a breakthrough, aside from a strong run into the box from Preston forward Cameron Archer who saw his shot deflected behind.

Cardiff boss Morison attempted to spark his side into life with a double change on the hour as Uche Ikpeazu and Rubin Colwill were introduced in place of Isaak Davies and Tommy Doyle, who had both failed to replicate their impressive recent form.

Ikpeazu was straight into the action and wanted a penalty after tangling with Sepp van den Berg but the decision went the way of the Preston man.

At the other end, Alan Browne dragged a shot wide after being teed up by Riis on the edge of the area before firing a free-kick into the Bluebirds wall.

The closest either side came to scoring was a big chance for the lively Daniel Johnson in the 74th minute.

But, after pouncing on a poor defensive header from Doughty, he was denied at close range by the advancing Smithies.

There was another chance for Browne 10 minutes from time, but he lost his footing as he tried to turn in the rebound after Smithies had parried Archer’s snapshot.

Ikpeazu forced Iversen into two flying saves in a frantic final five minutes and Hugill had the ball in the net in stoppage time only for Ikpeazu to be penalised for a push in the build-up.

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