Crystal Palace season ends with a wimper as Cardiff triumph

14:49 28 April 2012

Dougie Freedman

Dougie Freedman

Archant

Championship: Crystal Palace 1 Cardiff City 2

Crystal Palace ended the season with a whimper rather than a bang as a patched-up Eagles side surrendered an early lead to playoff-chasing Cardiff at Selhurst Park on Saturday afternoon.

From the off, Cardiff showed off the four-man attack which has bamboozled most Championship defences this season. In the third minute, Liam Lawrence’s daisy-cutter from 25 yards was spilled by Lewis Price but Palace’s reserve stopper scrambled and prevented Joe Mason from tapping in an equaliser.

However, the Eagles slowly got a foothold in the game. With Wilfried Zaha playing alongside Glenn Murray, he showed surprising maturity, dropping off and laying off to Darren Ambrose in the 13th minute. Zaha hared back into the space he’d created and got onto the end of Ambrose’s return ball. Beating both the Cardiff defence and David Marshall to the ball, he nicked the ball home from 20 yards to rapturous delight from the home crowd.

Cardiff were increasingly dangerous on the counter attack. On 27 minutes, Mason’s header was saved by Price and two minutes later, his cross across the six yard area was begging for one of his fellow attackers to slot it home. These chances were punctuated by a soft header by Murray from Sean Scannell’s cross, which was simply taken by Marshall.

Cardiff came to increasingly concentrate on Palace’s left-hand side and the inexperienced Matt Parsons. However, they could find no real joy until the 40th minute where a well-worked short corner between Peter Whittingham and Lawrence saw the latter play in an excellent cross for Mark Hudson, though the defender’s header was at a comfortable height for Price.

The Bluebirds came out of the traps fast in the second half. After 40 seconds, Kenny Miller pulled wide on the right and his cross again went begging. However, it wasn’t long before Cardiff found the equaliser. Matt Parsons conceded a freekick down near the byline and Peter Whittingham, in the 53rd minute, stepped up and bent the freekick in from a tight angle, eluding defenders, attackers and the goalkeeper.

The visitors had their tails up, sniffing an end to the uncertainty over their playoff hopes. On 54 minutes, Miller headed wide from a Lawrence cross and unfortunately the tide had turned on the Eagles.Cardiff got their inevitable second on 61 minutes. Aron Gunnarson’s long throw was flicked back by Hudson on the edge of the area. The on-rushing and unmarked Don Cowie smashed a volley into the bottom right-hand corner.

Both teams huffed and puffed but neither really threatened. With their attacking options limited, the home side just couldn’t create the chances to make Cardiff uncomfortable and they simply stroked it around to run down the clock. The Bluebirds go on the playoffs to face West Ham and for the Palace squad it’s an extended holiday.

The uncomfortable truth for the Eagles fans, who have seen the club yo-yo from playoff hopefuls to also-rans in a few short months, is that injuries have decimated the first team and those in reserve, whilst competent, haven’t had enough to keep them in the hunt. However, this is what progress looks like. No relegation battle, a good run in the Carling Cup and another crop of youngsters flirting with the first team. Eagles fans can be cautiously optimistic for the coming season.

Crystal Palace: Price; Parr, McCarthy, Moxey, Parsons; Ambrose (De Silva 73), O’Keefe, Garvan, Scannell (Pedroza 54); Murray, Zaha

Subs not used: Fitzsimons, Wynter, Sekajja

Cardiff: Marshall; McNaughton (Blake 72), Hudson, Turner, Taylor; Gunnarson, Whittingham; Lawrence, Miller (Gestede 79), Cowie; Mason (Earnshaw 89)

Subs not used: Heaton, McPhail

Attendance: 15,510 (2,415 away)

Latest Stories from SNAP.PA

After weeks of challenges and cringeworthy boardroom showdowns, Lord Sugar made a decision – and Twitter was watching.

Read more

And the runner-up was OK about losing out to the “very credible” winner.

Read more

And we were all invited to the happy couple’s big day!

Read more

Promoted content

We've got a great selection of Secret Santa presents and stocking fillers for under a tenner...  (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

Office Secret Santa: it’s a Christmas ritual that everyone dreads, but no-one wants to seem like a Scrooge by saying no. Never fear, London24 is here to make buying gifts for Dave in Accounts simple and stress-free, with a selection of presents for under a tenner

Money saving Christmas gifts to add to your shopping list!

It’s nearly time to go on the hunt for Christmas presents, stuck on what to get for your nearest and dearest? We’ve picked out a selection of great deals to get you started and to help you save some pennies!

Match Reports

TOP STORIES

Quizzes

Can you name these moustaches?

Movember is upon us once again and men across the country are growing moustaches to raise money to battle prostate cancer.

Read more
Ian Wright scores for Crystal Palace in the 1990 FA Cup final against Manchester United. Picture: PA

Crystal Palace are not short of a legend or two, whether it be from decades gone by or more recent times.

Read more
Arsene Wenger and Jose Mourinho go head to head (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Football managers are either deified or chastised, depending on results and they are some of the most famous faces in the country.

Read more
Roy Keane  (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

Roy Keane denied the world of more glorious beard action this weekend by shaving his famous chin hair off, however football is still littered with some impressive beards.

Read more

Crystal Palace Transfer

Saturday, December 20, 2014
Andros Townsend during his loan spell at QPR. Picture: Jonathan Brady/PA Wire

Our daily round-up of the latest transfer news includes Tottenham, QPR, Crystal Palace, Aston Villa, Sunderland, Stoke, Liverpool and Arsenal.

Read more
Daily Telegraph
Friday, December 19, 2014
Celtic's Virgil van Dijk (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)

With the opening of the transfer window just under two weeks away, we round up some of the latest news and gossip involving the London clubs.

Read more
Neil Warnock
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Top nine players who need a January transfer, including Dwight Gayle, Ravel Morrison and Emmanuel Adebayor

With less than two weeks to go until the January transfer window, every single Premier League club will be eyeing signings and departures.

Read more
Mauro Zarate
Thursday, December 18, 2014
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock

Neil Warnock concedes he will be taking Crystal Palace to face a Manchester City side starting to fire on all cylinders on Saturday and also revealed Ashley Cole has ruled out a move back to England in January.

Read more
Diego Costa