Tag Archive | Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace 1 Cardiff City 2 Phew…

At the start of this season I, like many others, expected a season of mid-table mediocrity for Cardiff. Yet yesterdays win at Selhurst Park meant a third consecutive finish in the playoff places in a season that we also reached our first ever Carling Cup final. This is a massive achievement and credit to Malky Mackay and his players who have been superb this season.

City fans travelled to Palace in numbers knowing that a win or draw would guarantee us a top six finish and the Bluebirds started the game brightly with Joe Mason having the first good chance. Liam Lawrence’s 20-yard drive was spilled by Palace keeper Lewis Price but he was up quickly to deny Mason’s follow up.

My view of the Selhurst Park pitch prior to kick-off

But it was the home side that took the lead against the run of play. Wilfred Zaha played the ball to Darren Ambrose before racing onto the midfielder’s defence-splitting through pass to finish under the advancing David Marshall. This made things a lot nervier for City as a Middlesbrough win with us losing would have meant dropping out of the playoff places.

The Cardiff faithful remained in fine voice and Price kept out headers from Mason and Mark Hudson before half-time. Kenny Miller went close in the second period when his drive went just wide of the far post but the Bluebirds took the lead shortly after. Peter Whittingham curled in a free-kick from the tightest of angles on 53 minutes. This was the midfielder’s 13th goal of the season and there was a massive sigh of relief from the away end. I ended up celebrating with two lads in the row in front who came dressed as Mr Blobby and a chicken which was different to say the least.

Cardiff were much the better side and should have won by more really

The pressure was somewhat lifted nine minutes later when the Bluebirds took a deserved lead. Hudson flicked on Aron Gunnarsson’s long throw to Don Cowie who volleyed into the bottom corner of the Palace net. This is the first time this season that Cardiff have come from 1-0 to win a game and the players and manager looked jubilant on the pitch at full-time.

Cardiff players came over to celebrate with fans after the final whistle

So playoffs it is then. We are the only one of the four sides who weren’t in the Premiership last season and it’s going to be a difficult task. However, we are unbeaten in 10 and have won four of our last six matches so we’re going into the games in fine form. Cardiff have now finished in the playoffs for the last three seasons and although we’ve failed in the last two, this time we are going in as the underdogs which is a status we always seem to thrive off. Hopefully this is the case and we can reach a Wembley final for the second time this year.

Crystal Palace

  • 34 Price
  • 05 McCarthy
  • 21 Moxey
  • 26 Parsons Booked
  • 04 Parr
  • 07 Ambrose (De Silva – 73′ )
  • 10 Garvan Booked
  • 28 O’Keefe
  • 11 Scannell (Pedroza – 54′ )
  • 16 Zaha
  • 17 Murray

Substitutes

  • 40 Fitzsimons
  • 22 Wynter
  • 36 De Silva
  • 25 Pedroza
  • 27 Sekajja

Cardiff City

  • 01 Marshall
  • 02 McNaughton (Blake – 72′ )
  • 03 Taylor
  • 05 Hudson
  • 25 Turner
  • 07 Whittingham
  • 08 Cowie
  • 13 Lawrence
  • 17 Gunnarsson Booked
  • 09 Miller Booked (Gestede – 79′ )
  • 20 Mason (Earnshaw – 90′ )

Substitutes

  • 22 Heaton
  • 23 Blake
  • 37 McPhail
  • 10 Earnshaw
  • 15 Gestede
Ref: Mason
Att: 15,510
All photos taken by myself
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It’s Crunch Time…

A win or a draw on Saturday will guarantee us a playoff place but will we “do a Cardiff” and bottle it again? Either way we’ve far exceeded my expectations this season and then some.

At the start of this season I expected Cardiff to finish mid-table. Following last season’s collapse in the playoffs we lost quality players such as Bellamy, Chopra and Bothroyd whilst other departures were more welcomed such as Bywater and Emmanuel-Thomas. All in all, 12 players departed in the summer, along with the manager and the majority of his backroom staff. Malky Mackay was named as the new gaffer and had to bring in pretty much a full squad of players.

Cardiff now have to finish in the playoff places in my opinion

Because of this I expected a season of transition, with the team and backroom staff needing time to get used to the club and playing together. However Malky and his men were quick to prove me wrong, and thankfully so. The team have not only been challenging for promotion all season but also reached the Carling Cup final, and against all the odds nearly came out victorious against Liverpool only to lose on penalties.

We now need one point on the final day of the season to claim a playoff spot and despite my pre-season expectations… we now HAVE to finish in the top six. Anything else has suddenly become unacceptable as the strong performances this season have raised the bar. I don’t expect us to win the playoffs, but to at least finish there is an amazing achievement in Mackay’s first season in charge. Having said that, the playoffs are only three games and if we can play at our best for those games then there’s an outside chance that we could gain promotion.

“Doing a Cardiff” is falling at that last hurdle as we have done in the last two seasons. If we lose against Crystal Palace and don’t make the playoffs then we have well and truly done it again. However, if we lose out in the playoffs then for me personally that is not “doing a Cardiff” and the season will ultimately be a success.

Permission for pictures given by Jon Candy