Date:Saturday April 11 2009
Cardiff City survived a brutal assault in more ways than one to secure a great away win against a battling Crystal Palace.
Cardiff City started at a frenetic pace, with a Roger Johnson header finding Chopra free to steer a header home in the opening minutes. However, a late flag was raised, I'm sure it was wrong but have seen no replay so can't say for sure.
Bothrord has a free-kick really well saved before Palace woke up and Kuqi went close with an effort. Stuart Taylor mis-kicked allowing a shot at goal only for Gabor Gyepes to cooly head clear.
After 20 minutes Ledley was sent through on goal and clipped for a clear penalty - ROSS McCORMACK put it away easily. Victor Moses saw a shot well saved by Taylor as Palace tried to rally.
At this point, you have to meantion the lack of control by Mr Booth - an extremely poor referee who lost control early on. So many late tackles went un-noticed and lenghty injuries to Chopra, Johnson and Parry saw lengthy delays with Chops and RJ substituted. Johnson was the victim of a brutal elbow as he attacked a corner, it was off the ball and extremely violent - the defender clutched his throat and was seen coughing up blood.
That unsavoury incident saw ugly scenes at half time with Dave Jones furiously confronting the defender Dacvies and an furius altercation saw both Jones and Neil Warnock sent to the stands. Unbelievably, no yellow cards had bee issued at this point despite both teams deserving of them. Nick Carle, Davies, Hill and McCarthy were all let off leniently.
In the second half, Palace continued to battle hard with tackles flying in on both sides. Rui Fonte went down in the box and could have been given a penalty. However, he certainly bought it and would have been better served trying to score himself.
Ledley had a great chance at the far post to double City's lead after a Rosco free-kick but sent his effort just wide but Palace were growing and dominating possession. Gabor Gyepes was magnificent at the heart of City's defence, McNaughton using all his judgement and anticipation skills to keep control while the Bluebirds kept their head extremely well in the charged atmosphere.
Hill saw a great chance go begging for the Eagles, sending his header onto Rae's back before a number of hairy moments for City saw the ball bobble uncleared in the box.
In the end, we were hanging on somewhat but Palace were lacking a cutting edge up-front and failed to convert their possession. ROSS McCORMACK scored a great individual goal in injury time, cutting inside to great effect and calming our frayed nerved. It is skill like that that marks McCormack as much more than a penalty taker - impressive and opportune stuff from the Scotsman.
Two nil to the City after a bizarre and aggressive encounter. There are many talking points but the most important is that three points are heading back to South Wales. The refereeing was dismal, for both sides though Palace were undoubtedly pushing their luck further. Well done Cardiff City for a proffessional and mature performance.
Date:Saturday April 11 2009
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