Second half tries from Jonny Vaughton and Rhys Thomas helped the Blues edge out Ulster 16-12 in Sunday's Heineken Cup dead-rubber at the Arms Park.
HEINEKEN CUP POOL 6
Blues (6) 16:
Tries: Vaughton, R Thomas.
Pens: MacLeod 2.
Ulster (3) 12:
Pens: Humphreys 2, Larkin 2.
The Blues led 6-3 after a low-key first half with Nick MacLeod hitting two penalties for the home side and David Humphreys replying for Ulster.
Humphreys levelled after half-time but Vaughton's try restored Cardiff's lead.
Adam Larkin replied with a penalty but Thomas' try ensured that the Blues avoided a whitewash in the competition.
Nick MacLeod kicked the Blues ahead with a third minute penalty after Ulster had conceded a penalty following a messy line out.
Ulster levelled in the eighth minute when Humphreys struck over a penalty.
Props Simon Best and John Yapp were then sin-binned by French referee Christophe Berdos after a spot of nastiness.
However, it was one of the few moments of passion in a rather listless first half.
Blues captain Tom Shanklin breaks clear of Neil Best and Kevin Maggs
MacLeod restored Cardiff's advantage with a 21st minute penalty and there were no further scores in the first period although Ulster threatened the Blues' line in injury-time.
The visitors got on terms three minutes after the break when Humphreys struck over a penalty.
The Irish fly-half had a chance to put Ulster ahead two minutes later but he was wide with the penalty attempt.
Blues winger Jonny Vaughton punished some poor Ulster defending to score a 47th minute try which edged the home side 11-6 ahead with MacLeod going on to miss the conversion.
With David Humphreys forced to depart after sustaining a knock, replacement fly-half Adam Larkin cut Cardiff's lead to two points with a penalty.
However, Ulster then suffered a blow when lock Rowan Frost was sin-binned.
A break by full-back Craig Morgan set up the Blues' second try in the 72nd minute with replacement prop Rhys Thomas finishing off the move.
Larkin cut the Blues' lead to four points as the match entered injury-time after intense Ulster pressure had earned the penalty.
But time then ran out for Ulster as they failed on the road yet again in Europe.
Cardiff Blues coach David Young was a relieved man after his side's win but was not impressed with his team's display.
"I don't think we played particularly well. In fact, it was a poor game, with a lot of unforced errors," said Young.
"But the boys have performed well over the last six weeks and we've not had the results.
"This time we didn't play so well, but got the result, and today that was the main thing."
His Ulster counterpart, Mark McCall, agreed that the match meant little to his team but insisted there had been no lack of intent.
"All week we've been speaking about the need to maintain momentum following our win over Gloucester,"said McCall.
"But we haven't managed to do so and we
made a lot of fundamental mistakes."
Ulster lost influential fly-half David Humphreys with a facial injury early in the second half, but McCall did not use that as an excuse.
"It was a blow, but that wasn't the reason we lost," he said. "We just didn't play well enough."
Blues: C Morgan; J Vaughton, T Shanklin (capt), T Davies, F Tuilagi; N Macleod, R Smith; J Yapp, G Williams, G Jenkins, D Jones, R Sidoli, N Thomas, K Schubert, R Sowden-Taylor.
Replacements: M Jones, R Thomas, N Budgett, M Williams, D Dewdney, L Thomas, S James.
Ulster: P Wallace; T Bowe, P Steinmetz, K Maggs, A Maxwell; D Humphreys, K Campbell; R McCormack, P Shields, S Best, R Frost, M McCullough, N Best, A Ward, capt, R Wilson.
Replacements: R Best, R Moore, M Mustchin, C Feather, R Spee, A Larkin, B Cunningham.
Referee: Christophe Berdos (France)