Half-time: Derby County frustrate Cardiff City in goalless opening period
DERBY County frustrated Championship leaders Cardiff City in a goalless first half in South Wales.
The Rams more than matched their hosts and were denied the opening goal when Chris Martin's effort was ruled out for offside.
Derby boss Nigel Clough was forced to make three changes to his side after John Brayford (hamstring) and Craig Bryson (groin) joined Jamie Ward (hamstring) on the treatment table.
Craig Forsyth made his debut on the left of midfield following his loan move from Watford, while there was a first senior start for Valentin Gjokaj at right-back.
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Elsewhere, Ben Davies was recalled to the starting line-up, while Clough only named five substitutes.
Cardiff went close to opening the scoring in the fifth minute, with a swift counter attack but a low cross from the right by former Derby favourite Tommy Smith just evaded the outstretched boot of Fraizer Campbell in the middle.
At the other end, Paul Coutts' dipping 20-yard effort forced a good diving save from David Marshall before Forsyth fired wide from distance following a determined run.
In the 21st minute, a great pass from Coutts released Conor Sammon on the left and his pull-back was sent goalwards first-time by Jeff Hendrick, only for defender Ben Turner to produce a vital block.
The visitors thought they had taken the lead on the half-hour.
Hendrick dispossessed Peter Whittingham in the Derby half and surged forward before picking out Martin, whose low first-time finish found the bottom corner of the net.
However, the celebrations were cut short as the flag was up for offside.
Coutts needed treatment for an injury but recovered sufficently to test Marshall again with a low drive that the keeper tipped around the post.
Cardiff had spells of pressure but were unable to force Adam Legzdins to make a save.