Block G Report: Crystal Palace 2 – 0 Cardiff City

By - Sunday 8th December, 2013

Crystal Palace took their most comfortable win so far as fellow promoted side Cardiff City were vanquished at Selhurst Park. Tom Lickley reports.

What a difference a month makes. On the 7th November, two days before the home game against Everton, Crystal Palace were bottom of the table with three points,  without a manager, and with hopes of Premier League survival rapidly diminishing, if not totally extinguished.

As the final whistle blew at Selhurst Park yesterday, an excellent run of results – ten points taken from the previous five games, with only a single goal conceded during that period – has lifted Palace to within goal difference of an exit from the relegation zone, and staying in the top division no longer seems like such an impossible task.

This result could have been completely different however had Cardiff not spurned a simple opportunity within the first couple of minutes. The Palace defence had yet to really settle, which allowed a cross to find an unmarked Frazier Campbell mere yards from goal with only the keeper to beat. Campbell should have done considerably better with his header, although Julian Speroni made a good save low to his left to tip the ball over for a corner, which led to nothing for the Bluebirds.

Cardiff offered little threat following the early chance. Only four minutes later, it was Palace who took the driving seat. Cameron Jerome, who has taken a key role in Palace’s recent resurgence, latched on to a ball from Kagisho Dikgacoi but couldn’t get a shot away under close marking from the Cardiff defence. The ball found its way to Jason Puncheon, who used good skill to get to the byline and chip a cross which met Jerome, and the former Bluebirds player buried his header in a fashion Campbell could only dream of.

Whilst chances were thin on the ground in the remainder of the first half, a shot blazed wide by Barry Bannan the only of note, Palace’s dominance was clear; Mile Jedinak was back to his all action best, and there was an understanding and confidence throughout the Palace team, which was in stark contrast to a disorganised and lacklustre away team, who looked a shadow of the side which stormed to the Championship title last season..

The Moroccan took a touch before volleying the ball with the outside of his right foot into the back of Marshall’s net

Cardiff started the second half with a sense of determination, although no chances came forth from the Welsh side. Instead, it was the Eagles who had the better opportunities, a Bannan break halted by half time substitute Craig Noone and a Jerome shot taking a deflection before forcing Cardiff keeper David Marshall into a good save. With the hour mark approaching, Palace scored a deserved second.

Again, the scorer of the goal had a role in its build-up.  Joel Ward found Marouane Chamakh deep in the Cardiff half, and the Moroccan found Bannan out to the left wing. The Scotsman whipped in a cross towards Jerome which Ben Turner met first. His header clear found Chamakh on the edge of the box however, and the Moroccan took a touch before volleying the ball with the outside of his right foot into the back of Marshall’s net. A confident finish from a man who looks to be coming into great form, and it must have been satisfying for the ex-Arsenal striker to silence his critics after a week in which he scored two decisive goals.

Cardiff threw on strikers Peter Odemwingie and Andreas Cornelius to try and salvage something from the game, and despite the former sending a header wide, it was Palace who continued to enjoy the better of the chances. Jerome in particular may consider himself unfortunate not to have scored more than his solitary goal. Another deflected shot from the Stoke loanee resulted in a corner, from which Dikgacoi found Jerome feet from goal. His flick seemed to be heading into the back of the net, but a superb clawed save from Marshall, and the help of goal-line technology, prevented his second of the afternoon.

Another couple of half chances followed for the Eagles, Jerome sending the ball wide and Turner nearly slicing the ball into his own net from a Puncheon cross. Palace saw the game out comfortably to register their fourth victory of the season.

With Palace now starting a difficult run of matches until the end of the year – Chelsea (a), Newcastle United (h), Aston Villa (a) and Manchester City (a), it was vital that the Eagles took good points from this week. Having dispatched fellow relegation rivals West Ham United last Tuesday, and with this result, there is now the opportunity that Palace will head into the new year, and the January transfer window, with a fighting chance of survival.

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey (Mariappa, 25′); Puncheon, Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Bannan (O’Keefe, 84′); Chamakh; Jerome.

Cardiff City: Marshall; Theophile-Catherine, Caulker, Turner; Cowie (Noone, 45′), Medel, Whittingham, Bo-Kyung (Odemwingie, 60′); Mutch; Campbell (Cornelius, 68′).

Goals: Crystal Palace 2 (Jerome 6′, Chamakh 57′) Cardiff City 0.

Attendance: 23,705.

Referee: M. Jones.

Tom Lickley

Tom Lickley

Contributing a variety of roles to the Citizen since early 2013, Tom now focuses upon regeneration, urbanism and real estate writing. He is a strategic communications consultant specialising in the real estate sector, and counts a number of the world's largest investment and fund management companies amongst his clients.

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