The Bluebirds, who lost at Rotherham United last weekend, made a bright start at the Cardiff City Stadium, with Kenwyne Jones almost setting up the first goal for Anthony Pilkington, but his effort was tipped away by Nick Pope.
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Jones himself went close to an early breakthrough when he met Sean Morrison's corner before heading wide from close range.
Another menacing cross from Russell Slade's side provided another worrying moment for the visitors as Morrison headed narrowly over the Charlton crossbar.
The visitors appeared to settle into the game and had chances of their own to take the lead as Johann Berg Gudmundsson had successive efforts blocked by the Cardiff defence before the City backline managed to thwart Patrick Bauer's close-range shot.
Bauer was inches away from putting his side in front midway through the half, after he headed Gudmundsson's cross just wide of Simon Moore's goal before Kagisho Dikgacoi missed the target at the other end.
With the interval approaching, Tony Watt almost got on the scoresheet for the away side, but the ex-Celtic forward was denied by Moore.
Moments later, Pilkington saw his shot saved by Pope before Joe Ralls fired wide as Cardiff failed to break down the Charlton backline.