Paddy McCarthy celebrated his first game as the Eagles’ new under-18s manager with a win thanks to Bryce Hosannah’s second goal in two games just before half-time.
The Irishman had stepped up from his role with the under-16s to fill the void left by Ken Gillard’s departure to Arsenal’s academy, and tasted success at the first time of asking thanks to Hosannah’s strike, which claimed back-to-back wins for the Eagles to help put their previous sticky patch firmly behind them.
In a game of limited opportunities, the Palace defence held firm against a strong Cardiff outfit to claim the victory in a manner that would have pleased the new manager, who took plenty of pride in solid defensive displays throughout his 151 appearances for the club.
Palace were the better team throughout the first half, but with the majority of the encounter played in the centre of the pitch, chances were few and far between, but just before the interval the hosts took the lead with the one clear-cut opportunity of the match.
After a Tyrick Mitchell cross came in from the left, it evaded everybody and was retrieved by Kian Flanagan. The Republic of Ireland under-18 international then played the ball to Hosannah and made a clever run that took a couple of defenders with him, and allowed his teammate to take aim and squeeze the ball home from a tight angle to register his third of the season.
Chasing the game in the second half, the Welsh side were the more threatening throughout the second 45 minutes but some dogged defending that McCarthy himself would have been proud of kept the Bluebirds at bay, with the defence continually putting their bodies on the line to protect Oliver Webber’s goal.
The Eagles stopper would ultimately be able to celebrate his first clean sheet at under-18 level, having been denied the chance to do so via a stoppage time penalty the previous week, and the win keeps McCarthy’s side in the hunt with Coventry City and Millwall who occupy the spots just above them, with Charlton Athletic way out in front but having played more games than their rivals.