Sean Morrison scored the only goal of the game to give Cardiff the victory over Middlesbrough, as City climbed to second place in the championship.
Most of the first half lacked any quality. Junior Hoilett had an effort saved by Darren Randolph for City and Adama Traore forced Neil Etheridge into a save for Boro.
It was always going to be a physical battle between two teams managed by Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis. As the game wasn’t fluent, it was predictable that the deadlock was broken from a set-piece.
In the 33rd minute, Morrison headed in a Hoilett free-kick to put City in front. That was the only exciting action of the first half.
Cardiff were the better team for most of the second half. But, Middlesbrough did come close through Stewart Downing, who fired narrowly wide from a counter-attack.
Hoilett had a close-range effort saved following a Callum Paterson long throw-in. Substitute Loïc Damour had a volley saved from outside the box, as Cardiff didn’t really look like losing the lead, only adding to it.
This was a very important win for City, especially as Aston Villa lost to Fulham. We are now second, two points above third-placed Villa and 11 points above seventh-placed Preston. We are six Championship games unbeaten. Middlesbrough remain ninth, four points outside the play-offs.
Next up for the Bluebirds is a trip to Ipswich next Wednesday the 21 February. Hopefully we can continue our winning form.
On the day an earthquake struck south Wales, Cardiff City Stadium was an epicentre of inactivity until Sean Morrison headed the hosts in front.
Cardiff are now two points clear of third-placed Aston Villa, who lost at Fulham.
A sixth Championship match without defeat for the Bluebirds also means they are now 11 points clear of Preston in seventh outside the play-offs.
Middlesbrough, meanwhile, remain ninth, four points adrift of the top six.
A meeting between teams managed by Neil Warnock and Tony Pulis was always likely to produce a rugged, physical encounter, and so it proved.
Predictably, it was a set-piece which led to the goal.
Hoilett whipped in a deep, in-swinging free-kick towards the back post, where Morrison rose above Ben Gibson to glance in his second headed goal in a week.
Cardiff had beaten Bolton here four days earlier with two goals from set-pieces and this was another functional, professional display.
They had to withstand pressure late on as Boro launched a series of long balls into their penalty area, but Pulis’ side were unable to fashion any genuine scoring opportunities against Cardiff’s resolute defence.