REPORT: CARDIFF 0 ALBION 0Brighton & Hove Albion and Cardiff City battled out a goalless draw in an uninspiring contest at the Cardiff City Stadium.
In a tight affair, defences were on top and neither side could capitalise on the limited chances created, but Albion were boosted by the return of Dale Stephens from the bench.
Leon Best and Beram Kayal were handed their full debuts while Jake Forster-Caskey was recalled to the starting line-up, as Chris Hughton made three changes from the side that was defeated by Nottingham Forest at the Amex on Saturday.
In a cagey opening 20 minutes, neither side really threatened with Stuart O’Keefe’s off-target header being the only opportunity of note.
With chances at a premium, Albion carved out a half-chance just before half-time, but Rohan Ince’s low drive could not find a way through a sea of Cardiff bodies.
After the restart, the Seagulls almost took the lead in fortuitous fashion as Joao Teixeira’s free-kick nearly dropped over David Marshall, but the Cardiff captain tipped the ball over the bar.
A missed header by Scott Malone gifted Albion an opening just before the hour mark, allowing Inigo Calderon to break down the right. The full-back's low cross caused havoc in the box, however after an intense goalmouth scramble neither Best, Forster-Caskey or Teixeira could direct the ball goalwards.
Lewis Dunk almost put the Seagulls ahead, nodding Teixera’s free-kick narrowly wide, while Cardiff’s main threat, Aron Gunnarson, headed off-target after arriving unmarked to meet Peter Whittingham’s corner.
The hosts came within a whisker of taking the lead through Kenwyne Jones but again, the Bluebirds failed to find the target, heading just wide.
The brightest spot of the evening came on 85 minutes for Albion, as Stephens came on to make his first appearance for the Seagulls in ten months after a lengthy injury lay-off. He almost made an immediate impact, chipping over the bar from the edge of the box with Albion’s final chance of the game.