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January 18 2021 9.39am

Palace edge Carling semi

January 10 2012

Anthony Gardner

Anthony Gardner

Crystal Palace moved a step closer to the Carling Cup Final after a 1-0 win over Cardiff in the semi-final first leg.

The Eagles go into the return match in a fortnight with the slight edge thanks to Anthony Gardner's headed goal just before the break.

Cardiff started the better of the two sides with a number of long throw-ins from Aron Gunnarsson putting Palace under the cosh. Ben Turner headed over and Joe Ralls had an attempt collected by Julian Speroni before Kenny Miller curled a shot just past the post.

Bluebirds keeper Tom Heaton made the first real save of the night, denying a Kagisho Dikgacoi shot from Chris Martin's lay-off.

And two minutes before half-time Palace got their noses in front with Gardner's first goal of the season. Darren Ambrose bombed a free-kick into the danger-zone, Mile Jedinak flicked on as Heaton came out to punch and Gardner nodded home.

Miller had the ball in the net for the Welsh side after the break but referee Mike Dean had spotted a push on Speroni by Joe Mason.

Peter Whittingham's deflected shot near the end had Palace's hearts in their mouths but the hosts held on for a one-goal first leg lead.

Palace: Speroni, Ramage, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr, Zaha (Easter 90), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Ambrose, Martin (Scannell 78), Murray.

Not Used: Price, Wright, Garvan, O'Keefe, Andrew.

Cardiff: Heaton, McNaughton (Blake 66), Hudson, Turner, Taylor, Cowie, Whittingham, Gunnarsson, Ralls, Mason (McPhail 74), Miller.

Not Used: Marshall, Kiss, Gerrard, Earnshaw, Conway.

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