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Sunday, 10 February 2013
Huddersfield Town 0 Cardiff City 0
Cardiff dropped points for only the second time in eight npower Championship games as managerless Huddersfield battled for a deserved and hard-fought point in a goalless draw at the John Smith's Stadium.
Leaders Cardiff began the day 10 points clear at the top of the table and after their shock home defeat to Peterborough in mid-December had won six and drawn one of their subsequent seven matches.
But Huddersfield, for whom joint caretaker managers Mark Lillis and Steve Eyre were taking charge of their fourth game following the sacking of Simon Grayson, were in no mood to be rolled over.
They were worthy of their point despite riding their luck when Cardiff defender Matthew Connolly hit the post in stoppage time at the end of the first half.
Joel Lynch made his first start since New Year's Day in central defence for Huddersfield and striker Sean Scannell was recalled, while Kevin McNaughton replaced Ben Turner at right-back for Cardiff.
Neither side produced a shot on goal in a cagey opening quarter of an hour before Huddersfield striker James Vaughan headed wide from six yards.
Cardiff defender Mark Hudson was off target with a header from similar distance at the other end and home midfielder Oliver Norwood fired a 25-yard free-kick over the crossbar.
Huddersfield took the game to the leaders and had a goal disallowed midway through the first half when Vaughan hooked the ball home from a corner only for referee Mark Brown to rule Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall had been fouled.
The visitors enjoyed their best spell as half-time approached and Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies, captain for the day in the absence of Peter Clarke, was forced into a full-length save to turn away Craig Bellamy's 25-yard free-kick.
Cardiff almost snatched the lead in time added on at the end of the first half when centre-half Matthew Connolly crashed a shot from the right edge of the penalty area against the post.
The Welshmen were then dealt an injury blow as McNaughton required medical treatment after a heavy challenge and he was replaced during the interval by Ben Nugent.
Cardiff began to get on top early in the second period and Bellamy fired an angled left-footed shot just wide in the 60th minute.
Smithies then fumbled an effort from Craig Conway and Nugent headed the subsequent corner the wrong side of the post as Huddersfield were forced on to the back foot.
The home side failed to threaten Marshall in Cardiff's goal, but continued to harry their opponents, who also found clear-cut chances hard to come by.
Bellamy smashed a free-kick from the edge of the area into the wall with three minutes remaining to end a frustrating afternoon for the Welshmen, while Huddersfield were given a standing ovation by most in a crowd of 15,265 after an entertaining stalemate.