Match ends, Burton Albion 2, Cardiff City 0.
Burton Albion heaped more pressure on Cardiff boss Paul Trollope by winning the first ever league meeting between the two sides.
Jackson Irvine's first half strike gave the hosts the advantage despite Cardiff creating several first half chances.
Lucas Akins headed home just after the break as Burton secured a third victory of the season.
Cardiff remain in the Championship relegation zone in 23rd position while Burton are up to 18th.
The victory saw the Brewers keep their first clean sheet in eleven league games, while the Bluebirds have now lost six of their last seven Championship contests.
Cardiff boosted by the return of England striker Rickie Lambert, started the busier of the two sides and almost opened the scoring on six minutes when Lambert freed Stuart O'Keefe, but he was denied by a terrific stop from Jon Loughlin, low to his left.
That was as close as Cardiff came before they fell behind, a failure to clear a set piece proving costly when Irvine fired home through a crowd.
Trollope's side thought they had won a penalty on 32 minutes when ex-Cardiff defender Ben Turner challenged Craig Noone, but the referee waved away the protests.
And any hopes Cardiff had of a second half revival were distinguished four minutes after the break when Akins was given too much space in the City penalty area and was able to head past Ben Amos.
McLaughlin's fine stop to deny Peter Whittingham was the closest Cardiff came in a second period where the Brewers looked comfortable in defence.
Burton Albion first-team coach Andy Garner:
"It was incredibly important for us to get the win heading into the international break.
"We looked at these games against QPR and Cardiff over this week and I think we would have settled for four points out of six coming off the back of two defeats.
"There is still a lot more to come from this group. We got stuck in the middle a bit in the last 10 minutes between going for a third goal or making sure we got the clean sheet.
"Today is a fantastic clean sheet for us. The back three and the keeper all did their jobs very well."
Cardiff head coach Paul Trollope:
"We came off the back of a disappointing game against Derby but a good away win at Rotherham last week.
"We were trying to build upon that on the road but we shot ourselves in the foot conceding, from our point of view, a soft goal in the early period of the game.
"That was backed up by a disappointing goal from a set play early in the second period that killed any real hopes of getting back into the game despite there still being a long time left."
- 19ChoudhurySubstituted forMousinhoat 90'minutes
- 36IrvineBooked at 84mins
- 8O'GradySubstituted forFlanaganat 77'minutes
- 12WardSubstituted forMillerat 66'minutes
- 5Ecuele Manga
- 10ImmersSubstituted forGounongbeat 56'minutes
- 8RallsSubstituted forK Harrisat 55'minutes
- 19LambertSubstituted forZohoreat 78'minutes
- 24K Harris
- Andy Madley
- Shots on Target
Second Half ends, Burton Albion 2, Cardiff City 0.
Ben Amos (Cardiff City) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Tom Flanagan (Burton Albion).
Attempt blocked. Tom Flanagan (Burton Albion) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked. Assisted by Will Miller.
Offside, Cardiff City. Lee Peltier tries a through ball, but Kenneth Zohore is caught offside.
Foul by Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City).
Matthew Palmer (Burton Albion) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt missed. Kenneth Zohore (Cardiff City) header from the right side of the six yard box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Peter Whittingham with a cross following a corner.
Substitution, Burton Albion. John Mousinho replaces Hamza Choudhury.
Corner, Cardiff City. Conceded by Matthew Palmer.
Attempt saved. Craig Noone (Cardiff City) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the top centre of the goal. Assisted by Stuart O'Keefe.
Jackson Irvine (Burton Albion) is shown the yellow card.
Attempt saved. Peter Whittingham (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the bottom left corner. Assisted by Kenneth Zohore.
Offside, Cardiff City. Kenneth Zohore tries a through ball, but Craig Noone is caught offside.
Substitution, Cardiff City. Kenneth Zohore replaces Rickie Lambert because of an injury.
Substitution, Burton Albion. Tom Flanagan replaces Chris O'Grady.
Attempt blocked. Rickie Lambert (Cardiff City) left footed shot from the centre of the box is blocked.
Attempt missed. Chris O'Grady (Burton Albion) left footed shot from the left side of the box misses to the right. Assisted by Will Miller with a through ball.
Delay over. They are ready to continue.