Season's best boosts Cardiff's prospects

The Cardiff City manager Dave Jones felt his side's performance on Tuesday night in their 2-1 victory over fellow Coca-Cola Championship promotion hopefuls Leicester City was their best of the season.

Ross McCormack put the Bluebirds ahead in the 10th minute and when Peter Whittingham fired home right on half-time Cardiff were in complete control. Leicester stormed back with a Steve Howard strike seven minutes after the break and Cardiff defender Gabor Gyepes was red-carded in the 70th minute, but the Bluebirds hung on with a desperate rear-guard display.

"I think that was our best performance this season because of the circumstances," said a delighted Jones. "We deserved our half-time lead and I knew they would come at us after the break, but I didn't expect to lose three players through injury and have one sent off."

Foxes manager Nigel Pearson felt his side were worth at least a point. "We should have got something from the game but there are lots of positives I can take from it," he said.

"There was a good response in the second half but I saw lots of encouraging signs tonight and the season is far from over."

At the other end of the table, Crystal Palace boosted their survival hopes with a 3-1 victory at relegation rivals Watford to leave manager Paul Hart confident of pulling off another great escape. Stern John, Sean Scannell and Neil Danns scored to edge Palace to within a point of the Hornets, who are sitting nervously just one place above the drop zone.

Hart kept Portsmouth in the Premier League from a similarly precarious position last season and is out to repeat the trick.

"I think we had to win this game, if we hadn't it would have looked pretty bad," Hart said.

"But there's six games to go – it's about who can hold their nerve at times. There will be a lot of twists and turns yet but this has put it there for us."

Elsewhere, Plymouth manager Paul Mariner was pleased with his side's fighting spirit as they held on for a goalless draw against mid-table Barnsley to earn a point towards their bid to avoid the drop.

The home side had to ride their luck and were indebted to some fine saves from David Stockdale, while both teams also hit the crossbar. "All points are useful and this one is no different. I will know how valuable it is on 2 May," said Mariner.