Bradley Dack's deflected strike just after half-time was enough to give Blackburn a 1-0 win over Cardiff in a game of few chances at Ewood Park.
Jack Simpson's attempted block wrong-footed goalkeeper Ryan Allsop and nestled Dack's 20-yard effort in the bottom corner two minutes after half-time to earn Blackburn only a second win in their last six games.
Mark Harris could have given low scorers Cardiff the opener and twice went close shortly before the break, but the Bluebirds' timid attack was again apparent with only three shots on target across the 90 minutes.
In the end, Blackburn's victory could have been more comfortable but Ben Brereton-Diaz shot straight at Allsop from a tight angle, with the hosts made to sit out a nervy ending before moving back within eight points of second-placed Sheffield United, who travel to QPR on Monday evening.
Inside the opening minutes Sam Gallagher should have handed out-of-form Blackburn a confidence boost when catching Allsop off his line, but instead of attempting a chip went low and was denied by the goalkeeper's recovery.
A sodden pitch did little to help, with both sides unable to build up significant momentum after that opening spark.
Even so, Callum O'Dowda's quick thinking after a lax Blackburn pass gave Gavin Whyte a clear route to goal, before a heavy touch allowed Jake Garrett time to slide in and deny him.
Garrett was lucky not to be badly injured soon after when Simpson's late, high challenge struck him in the thigh, and the Cardiff defender was lucky his punishment was not more severe than a yellow card.
Blackburn may feel there was some justice in the part he played in their winner, diving in to block Dack's tame effort from distance and turning it past Allsop barely a minute after half-time.
Cardiff had sat back before then but dominated the ball after the goal, without the cutting edge to ever trouble Thomas Kaminski.
If there was to be a second goal, it still looked like Blackburn would be the more likely to get it. Brereton-Diaz was played in well by Harry Pickering, but needed better composure to beat Allsop from wide.
His miss proved immaterial in the end, with Cardiff's pressure too easy for Blackburn to handle and provide them with a welcome three points to see in the New Year.
Blackburn Rovers: Kaminski, Rankin-Costello (S. Wharton 53’), Ayala, Hyam, Pickering (Travis 78’), Morton (A. Wharton 88’), Garrett (Edun 78’), Hedges, Dack, Brereton Díaz, Gallagher. Subs Not Used: Pears, Markanday, Vale.
Cardiff City: Allsop, Sang, Kipré, Ng, Simpson (Rinomhota 59’), O'Dowda, Wintle, Ralls (Ojo 59’), Whyte (R. Colwill 59’), Robinson (Davies 66’), Harris (Philogene 78’). Subs Not Used: Luthra, Nelson.