Cardiff City stretched their unbeaten run to seven games and maintained their play-off push with a hard fought win at Barnsley.

On-loan midfielder Liam Lawrence netted the only goal of the game after 69 minutes, scoring with a header from Andrew Taylor's cross.

Peter Whittingham had gone close with a free-kick for the visitors during a dour opening 45 minutes.

Barnsley had plenty of possession but created very little in a scrappy game.

Chances were few and far during the opening 25 minutes with David Button safely gathering Kenny Miller's scuffed shot before Barnsley's Michael Tonge dragged a 20-yard effort wide.

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The hosts were beginning to look the more likely to break the deadlock and Frank Nouble tested David Marshall when he escaped down the left, but his effort was easily snaffled by the Cardiff keeper.

But Barnsley could not sustain their pressure and Aron Gunnarsson stung the palms of Button with a low drive before Peter Whittingham curled a free-kick just wide.

Cardiff's first opening came within 30 seconds of the restart when Don Cowie exchanged passes with Miller but his left-footed effort was no concern for Button

Nouble then headed over a Jim O'Brien cross for the hosts from eight yards out but Barnsley could not convert their pressure into chances.

And it was Cardiff who broke the deadlock on 69 minutes with Lawrence, on-loan from Portsmouth, scoring his first goal for the Bluebirds.

Left-back Taylor advanced down the left and delivered an inviting cross for Lawrence to nod back across goal and into the bottom corner.

Ben Turner somehow poked over from close range as the Bluebirds continued to press, but they saw out the remaining time with ease.

The victory sees Cardiff move two points off seventh-placed Middlesbrough with three games to go while Barnsley are only eight points above the relegation zone.

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