Palace’s impressive six game unbeaten run in the U18 Professional Development League 2 came to an end in south Wales as a fresher Cardiff City side ran out comfortable winners.
After exiting the FA Youth Cup to Aston Villa the week before, the Eagles were looking to get back to winning ways and enjoyed a bright start. Striker Francis Baptiste was handed his full debut at this level and impressed, and eight minutes in he forced Luke Wakeman into a good save with a left-footed attempt.
But on the 15 minute mark the Eagles fell behind when they conceded a free-kick 25 yards out and Jamie Bird broke the deadlock by firing the ball into the top corner for a wonderful goal.
Elvis Menayese then clipped the post for the hosts but Baptiste went close again soon after when he latched onto a fine through-ball by Michael Phillips but prodded the ball wide.
Having held their own during the first half, Palace were hoping to remain in the game for as long as possible after the restart but mere seconds into the second half Cardiff doubled their lead when Bird raced through straight from kick-off and again tucked the ball high past Oliver Pain.
With bodies needed further up the pitch, Palace were leaving themselves exposed at the back and that allowed the Bluebirds to add a third on 54 minutes when James Waite scored a tap-in following good work by Aiden Chappell-Smith.
Despite trailing by three goals the Eagles nearly got back into the game when Baptiste saw a header cleared off the line just after the hour mark, but with 15 minutes to go Bird completed his hat-trick following a counter-attack that handed him a one-on-one chance against Pain, and eight minutes later Ibi So
Sani added a fifth from close range.
The Eagles’ day was summed up late on when a good cross by Bryce Hosannah was dispatched well by the head of Levi Lumeka, but he hit the post as Palace were left frustrated.
Palace: Pain, Hosannah, Jones, Woods, Sturgess (Akiotu 60), Lumeka, Phillips (Hogan 82), Bennett (Yeboah 60), Flanagan, Baptiste, Lokilo. Subs not used: McAdden, Omrore.