Bluebirds ensure sorry end to Eagles' season
Crystal Palace ended the Championship season in 17th after losing 2-1 to Cardiff City at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles, missing eight first team players through injury, more than matched their counterparts, who secured a play-off spot, in the first half but tired in the second.
Wilfried Zaha’s fantastic goal had given the home side a half-time lead but strikes from Peter Whittignham and Don Cowie gave the Bluebirds victory.
For Palace, it meant they ended the season without a win in nine games and also behind their south London rivals Millwall in the standings.
Cardiff opened up the game intent on settling their nerves but were denied by a stunning double save by Lewis Price as he kept out Liam Lawrence’s long shot and Joe Mason’s follow up.
Palace started to settle though and played some intricate one touch football before Zaha, playing up front with Glenn Murray, put them ahead.
After holding the ball up in the centre circle, he played it out wide to Darren Ambrose and ran toward the box to collect a beautiful return pass and slot expertly under David Marshall.
Ambrose then shot over from distance and Murray also had a header easily saved by Marshall.
But, as the game wore on, Cardiff began to use their experience and impose themselves on the match.
Former Eagles skipper Mark Hudson header straight at Price and Kenny Miller also shot across goal before they levelled.
Matt Parsons, often exposed at left back with Sean Scannell seemingly unwilling to track back, fouled Liam Lawrence on the left and Whittingham fired in the free kick from what seemed an impossible angle.
It was a poor goal to concede but an excellent strike from Whittingham.
In the 62nd minute, Cardiff went ahead with another goal from a set piece as Palace again let themselves down defensively.
Aron Gunnarsson’s long-throw was flicked on by Hudson for the unmarked Cowie to volley home.
Cardiff controlled the game after that with only a shot Zaha dragged wide from distance threatening to bring the scores level.
As in recent weeks, there were encouraging performances from Palace and many positives to take from the game but yet again the final result did not materialise.
The Eagles will now look to boost their squad over the summer and make the transition from a promising side to one that can challenge the top on 10 on a regular basis.