Blackburn Rovers recorded their first clean sheet since November after a drab nil-nil draw against Cardiff City.

John Eustace is still searching for his first win as Rovers boss but will be pleased with his team's defensive output at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Both teams came into the match short on form, with the Bluebirds losing six of their last seven whilst Rovers hadn't won away since November.

Chances were at a premium with both sides cancelling each other out and not showing enough quality in the final third to really cause problems.

Aynsley Pears was the busier of the two shot-stoppers, denying Karlan Grant and Kion Etete in either half. 

Rovers only created one chance of note themselves. Substitute Tyrhys Dolan latched on to a deflected shot but Ethan Horvath kept him out. Callum Brittain's blocked shot had appeared to strike a defender's arm and could've resulted in a penalty but referee Leigh Doughty was unmoved.

The result means Rovers recorded their first shutout since a 3-0 win at Stoke City in November. They hadn't drawn nil-nil in the Championship since April 2023 when Hull City came to Ewood Park.

Eustace's side arrived in South Wales knowing they had an opportunity to give themselves breathing space against an out-of-form Cardiff side.

The Bluebirds had lost their last three home games, failing to score, and losing six of their last seven overall. After seven away matches without a victory, the Welsh camp would probably have viewed the visit of Rovers in the same manner.

The big question before kick-off was how Eustace would view the fitness of Kyle McFadzean, Ryan Hedges and Sam Gallagher after three games and heavy loads last week.

The head coach responded with three changes, taking Hedges and Dolan out of the side, with the former rested from the squad entirely, as well as the injured John Fleck. Yasin Ayari made his full Rovers debut in midfield alongside Jake Garrett, with Ben Chrisene recalled at left-wing-back.

Rovers made a bright enough start, moving the ball around without really offering any threat. Cardiff responded and had their own spell but it quickly became apparent that this would be a contest reflecting two out-of-form sides.

Chances and excitement were at a premium in the first half with Grant and Rubin Colwill the likeliest to inject some life into an otherwise flat encounter.

Scott Wharton had to be alert to clear a dangerous cross with Etete lurking. Most of Cardiff's best play did come from their left with Grant dipping inside and posing a threat.

He forced Pears into an early stop, skipping past Dom Hyam and hitting the legs of the Rovers goalkeeper after getting a sight of the goal. Ryan Wintle stepped over a promising cross when he should've taken it on as Cardiff looked likeliest to score.

Rovers were again incredibly disjointed, just as they were at Birmingham a week ago. For a side that only two weeks ago were built around possession and chance creation, moving the ball to a team-mate beyond the halfway line was a struggle.

Ayari played off the front with Szmodics but neither could get into the match. When Rovers did get into promising positions, the final pass lacked quality or the attacker chose the wrong option.

It might sound obvious but it's quickly becoming obvious how integral Adam Wharton was to Rovers' ball progress. Since he left, central midfield has looked like a weak area in the squad. 

When you lose a £20million talent to the Premier League, it will always leave a hole but Rovers were desperate in the opening 45 minutes on the ball, not that the Bluebirds were much cop either.

Cardiff did still look the more likely to break the deadlock though. Josh Bowler got down the right wing and forced Pears to turn the ball behind at his near post. From the resulting corner, Grant's strike from range had to be tipped over.

The chances kept coming for the Bluebirds. Colwill skipped past McFadzean and his cross found Etete, who fired at Pears inside the box. Rovers hadn't livened up after the break and Cardiff carried an increased threat.

Eustace tried to stem the tide with three changes including John Buckley, making his first Rovers appearance since August after injury and a loan at Sheffield Wednesday.

The introduction of the midfielder coincided with Rovers' best passage of the match and a first effort of note on goal. Callum Brittain cut inside and his shot was blocked, with appeals for handball, before the ball fell to Dolan and forced Ethan Horvath into a smart save.

On first viewing, it looked like Rovers might have a case with the defender's arm raised. A reminder Rovers have only had one penalty this season, saved from Szmodics at Rotherham on matchday two.

As the minutes ticked by, it felt more and more like Deja vu having watched a very similar display at Birmingham, albeit Cardiff did not create the volume of chances Tony Mowbray's side managed. Ticking into the final 10 minutes, a first clean sheet since November was on the cards.

It stayed that way with neither side doing anywhere near enough to break the other down. It was the story of two sides lacking neither the confidence nor quality to seize the initiative to take all three points.

Whilst the obvious downside was the lack of clear-cut chances, Eustace will at least take heart in the defensive output of the team.

The nil-nil is Rovers' first since April 2023, when they drew a blank at home to Hull City in the run-in last season. It's only their fifth clean sheet of the season, four of which have come on the road, the last at Stoke in November.

Norwich City are next up on Saturday and will provide a far greater test with their attacking talent. This one won't make the end-of-season DVD but at least they avoided a last-minute suckerpunch.