Cardiff, Everton in stalemate
Cardiff v Everton (Gallo Images)
Cardiff - Cardiff City defied the odds again to hold Everton to a 0-0 draw on Saturday and claim another valuable point in their quest for Premier League survival.
Having taken three points off Manchester City last time out, the promoted side helped themselves to a deserved draw against an Everton side that enjoyed plenty of the ball.
The visitors had strong penalty appeals turned down in the first half, but they could have had no complaints about the eventual outcome.
Just as they had done against Manuel Pellegrini's City six days previously, Cardiff made a slick start, with Aron Gunnarsson and Kim Bo-kyung quick to assert themselves in what turned out to be a congested midfield battle.
Peter Whittingham saw his cross cut out by Ross Barkley before last weekend's two-goal hero Fraizer Campbell was dispossessed by Phil Jagielka on the edge of the visitors' penalty area.
Everton, who used Marouane Fellaini in a holding role, struggled for a foothold as the hosts flooded the midfield whenever the visitors crossed halfway.
Still, when Barkley was put into space by Steven Pienaar's delightful pass after 10 minutes, it took a smart block from Ben Turner to deny the new England squad member a second league goal of the season.
Although Fellaini saw plenty of possession, his presence in the final third was missed.
Nikica Jelavic worked tirelessly to bring his supporting players into the game, but Cardiff were disciplined and able to cope.
Slowly, but surely, Everton took control and when Jelavic crossed for Kevin Mirallas, the Greek international headed wide from point-blank range.
Steven Caulker cleared at the near post from a Pienaar cross and Cardiff then had a huge escape when Gary Medel escaped unpunished despite tripping Leighton Baines inside the penalty area.
Then, in first-half stoppage time, Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall pulled off what may prove to be a candidate for save of the season.
Jelavic headed a Seamus Coleman cross goalwards but after the ball struck Turner, Marshall sharply changed direction and somehow palmed the ball to safety.
Cardiff began the second half much as they had the first, with Kim causing confusion in the Everton box following a mazy run past three defenders and Matt Connolly shooting wide from 20 yards.
But it was Jelavic who should have broken the deadlock from Barkley's precise pass, only for the Croatian to shoot into the stands with only Marshall to beat.
In pushing Mirallas further forward, Everton served notice of their intent, and Barkley was also given greater freedom.
The visitors looked the more likely side to score, although Cardiff forward Craig Bellamy did manage to round visiting goalkeeper Tim Howard, only to take the ball too far from goal.
The introduction of Arouna Kone for the final 23 minutes further confirmed Everton's ambition, but just as against Manchester City, Cardiff were up for the fight and held on without too much trouble.