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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
22:21 21st June 2012

Despite taking an early lead, Palace suffered only their second defeat in their last 20 games as Cardiff City came back to win 2-1 in this Boxing Day clash in the Welsh capital.

The game kicked off in monsoon-like conditions but Palace began brightly and forced an early corner after three minutes. Owen Garvan's delivery towards the near post found Mile Jedinak, and the Eagles skipper guided the ball on the volley past David Marshall to hand his side the perfect start.

The Eagles dictated the opening 25 minutes and created a number of dangerous chances. Twenty minutes in a quickly-taken Cardiff free-kick backfired and resulted in Glenn Murray breaking through on goal from his own half, however a poor touch saw the opportunity go begging.

The game burst into life a minute later when Wilfried Zaha picked the ball up on the left flank and stepped inside on the edge of the area, and unleashed a curling shot that looked destined for the top corner but clattered off the crossbar, with the rebound falling to Murray but Marshall did well to tip over his effort.

The Scottish shot-stopper was called into action two minutes later when Garvan curled a free-kick from 25 yards around the Cardiff wall that Marshall pushed away from the bottom corner. The home side showed their cutting edge when Craig Bellamy got behind the Palace defence and charged towards goal, however Peter Ramage did excellently to get back and flick the ball away for a corner.

The former Wales captain later saw a shot blocked in the area when Peter Whittingham's quick free-kick caught Palace napping, but he did make a telling contribution on 43 minutes when his low centre from the left was converted by Craig Noone from 10 yards out to make it 1-1. 

Murray had a fantastic opportunity to put his side immediately back in the lead when Garvan got to the byline and pulled the ball back for the Eagles' top scorer, but this time he blazed the ball wildly over the bar as a pulsating 45 minutes ended all square.

Danny Gabbidon made his first full Palace appearance against his former club, and he had the first chance of the second 45 when he headed a corner narrowly off target, and Garvan shanked a shot wide after bursting in the area on 57 minutes.

However the Eagles had Julian Speroni to thank moments later when a neat pass in the area found Bellamy, and the striker had time to take a touch before shooting but the Palace custodian stayed big to foil the veteran striker from close range.

But the home side did find a way through on 73 minutes when Bellamy's corner was met by Aaron Gunnarsson's head, and the ball crashed off the crossbar before finding its way into the back of the Eagles' net.

Cardiff had enjoyed most of the territory and possession during the second half and they again tested Speroni when he get across his goal to palm a Whittingham free-kick over the crossbar, and substitute Rudy Gestede fired over in injury time but it didn't matter as the final whistle secured the win for the league leaders.

Cardiff City: Marshall, McNaughton, Taylor, Hudson, Turner, Whittingham, Conway, Noone (Mason 75), Mutch (Gunnarsson 46), Helguson (Gestede 56), Bellamy. Subs not used: Lewis, Cowie, Kim, Lappin.

Palace: Speroni, Parr (Easter 86), Bolasie (Moritz 74), Dikgacoi, Garvan, Jedinak, Zaha, Murray, Moxey, Ramage, Gabbidon. Subs not used: Price, Martin,Williams, O'Keefe, Appiah.