PHOTOS: Cardiff City 0, Burnley 0
YOU can't have anything but respect, pride and admiration for Eddie Howe.
After enduring the 'worst week' of his life following the tragic and sudden death of his mother, Annie, the Burnley boss returned to the dug-out at the imaginatively named Cardiff City Stadium.
And after a battling, composed and methodical performance against the Bluebirds, Howe's 'biggest fan' would undoubtedly be smiling down on Mother's Day.
The Clarets stayed true to their philosophy from Iain Williamson's first whistle; working the ball from the back and proving economical in possession.
Neat, intricate exchanges forced the Clarets in to the ascendancy and Ross Wallace went close, cutting in on his left foot and stinging the palms of David Marshall at his near post.
Burnley's defence was expertly marshalled by Michael Duff throughout the afternoon, though they were caught static when talented youngster Joe Mason latched on to a penetrative pass in to the box. However, Lee Grant was quick off his line, forcing Mason wide and to an angle too acute for an effort on goal.
Scot Kenny Miller also went close for the hosts as he wriggled past Dean Marney on the edge of the box, only to scoop his effort, from a floored position, in to the hands of Grant.
Howe and assistant Jason Tindall were extremely animated and kicked every ball from the sidelines. And the pair must have wondered how they didn't take an advantage in to the interval as they piled the pressure on the home side's rearguard.
Danny Ings, still in search of his first senior goal, flashed a volley past the angle as Kieran Trippier's set-piece had been cleared towards the edge of the box and then Martin Paterson's fizzed half-volley was turned away at his near post by Marshall.
Malkay Mackay's side had talent and flair in their attacking ranks, though rarely utilised the ability of Mason, Aron Gunnarsson, Peter Whittingham or Miller. Instead it was the Clarets who continued to set the tone. Trippier's diagonal set-piece was headed wide of the angle by David Edgar when well-placed and unmarked before Stanislas, who had found ample space down the right, forced Marshall in to another smart save with a ferocious drive.
The half petered out to an extent but it was the Clarets who once again came closest to breaking the deadlock after Wallace, who had expertly pinged angled passes from side to side all afternoon, found Ings though the teenage striker found the side-netting with a low, right-footed shot.
The fixture fluttered in to mediocrity in the second half, though that suited the Clarets who continuously mopped up any threat from the Bluebirds. The Clarets were tight and organised as a unit, allowing Cardiff limited time in possession in the final third.
The hosts floated a number of crosses in to the box but a head, foot or the hands of Grant thwarted any danger. As Burnley broke, Trippier sliced wide from 20 yards, Junior Stanislas lifted a free-kick over the bar and a last gasp challenge from full-back Kevin McNaughton denied Paterson as the ball broke kindly for the forward following substitute Marvin Bartley's determined run in to the penalty area.
Ings showed spirit and tenacity in a hard-fought stalemate, working the flanks and tracking back to sure up the back line. And it was his acrobatic clearance with time running out that denied City an opening after a melee in the box. And just before Williamson's whistle confirmed the 0-0 scoreline, sub Charlie Austin charged through on goal but blazed wide of the near post under pressure from Ben Turner, who appeared to have hold of the striker's shirt.
Another positive on a sombre day in South Wales, which began with a heartfelt tribute for Bolton's Fabrice Muamba, saw full-back Danny Lafferty make his Clarets bow. The left-sided defender's positional sense mimicked that of former Claret Danny Fox as he hogged the touchline, hoping to orchestrate bursts forward. After overcoming early nerves, the former Derry City player grew in to the game and became more assured in the second half.
It was a display to be proud of and a point well earned. It finished Cardiff City 0 Burnley 0.