Bluebirds cement play-off spot
Burke's second-half winner sinks Eagles at Selhurst Park
Last Updated: March 27, 2010 2:56pm
Burke: Second-half winner
Cardiff City have cemented their play-off spot following a 2-1 success over relegation-threatened Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.
Chris Burke's second-half goal settled the contest after Clint Hill equalised Gabor Gyepes' early opener for the Bluebirds.
Some poor marking allowed Gyepes to side-foot home the opener just four minutes in, although the Eagles were unlucky to trail after half time.
Shortly after Kelvin Etuhu wasted a good chance to double Cardiff's lead, Hill was left unmarked at the near post to head the home side level.
Burke settled the game once and for all on 67 minutes when he lashed the ball home after Palace failed to deal with a set-piece.
Palace were missing six first team players through injury and suspension and it took the Bluebirds just four minutes to breach their patched-up defence.
Peter Whittingham's low corner was helped on at the near post by Stephen McPhail and Gyepes was on hand to fire his first goal of the campaign.
Palace are nothing if not resilient, though, and they almost hit back in the 19th minute when Hill's header from Darren Ambrose's free-kick beat the dive of David Marshall but came back off the crossbar.
Marshall did well to palm away a close-range volley from Ambrose five minutes later, but the goalkeeper suffered a case of the jitters from the following corner.
He came too far for Calvin Andrew's cross and palmed the ball to the feet of Ambrose, but the midfielder's lob landed on the roof of the unguarded net.
Cardiff could have doubled their advantage before the interval when Etuhu broke clear but the on-loan Manchester City striker's shot was too close to Julian Speroni, who saved with his shoulder.
After the break Ambrose missed a gilt-edged chance to level when he sidefooted Johnny Ertl's cross wide.
And Palace were screaming for a penalty when Tony Capaldi pulled down Stern John at a corner, but referee Carl Boyeson was not interested.
The goal they had been threatening finally arrived just before the hour mark, albeit from an unlikely source. Ambrose swung in a corner and Hill's downward header beat Marshall for his first goal of the season.
But City wrapped up the win 10 minutes later when Palace failed to deal with Mark Kennedy's free-kick and Burke hammered his volley past Speroni from the edge of the area.
Palace had a chance to level in stoppage time but Sean Scannell's shot was deflected wide as the Eagles slumped to a sixth defeat in seven home games.
Sat 27th Mar
C Palace1 - 2Cardiff
Reading1 - 1West Brom
Coventry1 - 1Sheff Wed
Derby1 - 0Leicester
Preston2 - 2QPR
Watford1 - 1Middlesbro'
Barnsley0 - 1Doncaster
Plymouth0 - 2Blackpool
Peterboro0 - 1Bristol C
Swansea0 - 0Ipswich
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