By James Lloyd at the Cardiff City Stadium
Cardiff City ended their two-game winless patch with a comfortable 2-0 victory at home to Preston North End.
Peter Whittingham slotted in the first from the spot before birthday boy Kenneth Zohore made it two with a sublime, solo effort.
City had put together three wins on the trot to climb away from the relegation places, but back-to-back losses to Brighton and Reading put them on a minor setback.
Neil Warnock’s men had to defend well in second-half drabs to halt a number of Preston efforts, but the Blue wall held firm to seal a vital three points and stop the mini rot.
It was pretty simplistic from the off for the hosts who bagged a penalty in the 17th minute when Junior Hoilett was bundled down by Daniel Johnson.
Whittingham stepped up and blasted in the spot kick into the bottom right hand corner.
And it soon got better for the dominant Bluebirds who doubled their lead through a piece of individual brilliance from Zohore, who had a birthday to remember.
The beanpole Dane brushed his way past three Preston defenders from the halfway line before cheekily dinking the ball over Chris Maxwell in the visiting net.
Cardiff were relentless and were inches away from making it 3-0 before the break, but Hoilett’s flick on from Sean Morrison’s header boomed off the crossbar.
The visitors had their chances in the early exchanges after half-time but failed to capitalise on them. First Aiden McGeady went close with a rifling effort from outside the box before Tom Clarke sliced a volley over the bar with Jordan Hugill shooting over from inside the area.
Wales youth cap Maxwell denied Zohore a second goal with a smart stop, before McGeady had another go at beating McGregor – who saved comfortably.
The Bluebirds were able to close the game out with ease with Hoilett scuffing a free-kick high over the bar late on.
Cardiff City: McGregor 6, Peltier 6 (Connolly 45, 6), Morrison 6, Bamba 6 (Healey 90, 5), Richards 6, Whittingham 7 (Halford 77, 5), Gunnarsson 6, Ralls 6, Harris 7, Hoilett 7, Zohore 8.
Subs Unused: Murphy, Noone, John, Halford, Kennedy, Healey.
Preston North End: Maxwell 5, Browning 4, Clarke 5, Huntington 5, Cunningham 5, Gallagher 5, Pearson 5 (Browne 77, 5), Johnson 5 (Beckford 45, 6), Horgan 5 (Robinson 66, 5), McGeady 6, Hugill 5.
Subs Unused: Lindegaard, Makineok, Pringle, Boyle.
Man of the Match: Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City)