Cardiff City’s U21 side defeated Crystal Palace, 3-1, at Cardiff City Stadium in their final league match of the 2015/16 season on Monday, 25th April.
Kevin Nicholson's men started brightly, with Kadeem Harris and Rhys Healey having great chances to earn an early lead; with Healey being denied by the legs of Palace keeper Perntreou after a mazy run.
With twenty minutes on the clock, Healey had another good opportunity, but headed straight at the well-recovered keeper. At the other end, Luke O’Reilly was forced into a fine stop, denying a low drive with one hand.
After 23 minutes, Cardiff finally got the opening goal they deserved, with Healey finding the back of the net. After good work on the right-hand side from Matt Kennedy, Healey converted from close range, after Palace failed to clear their lines.
Both sides began to enjoy ventures forward into the opposition half, with goalkeepers on each team being called into action on numerous occasions. However, Palace found their equaliser through Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong. The midfielder picked up the ball on the Eagles’ right, and curled a great effort into the top corner.
With chances at both ends, City soon regained their lead. Ben Turner rose at the back post, and nodded the ball towards the unmarked Jamie Bird. Bird clinically headed into the bottom corner, restoring the Bluebirds’ advantage.
With the interval looming, Cardiff could have gone 3-1 ahead when winger Harris was tripped inside the Palace box. However, Healey’s subsequent spot-kick was well saved by Perntreou, keeping the difference just one at the break.
In the second period, the Bluebirds went in search of the killer third goal, with sustained pressure in the Palace half. The elusive strike eventually came in the 70th minute, with Harris on the scoresheet. He found himself free in the box, and rifled home to seal the win.
The Eagles tried to get back into the game in the latter stages, but couldn’t find a way past O’Reilly in the Cardiff goal. Berkeley-Agyepong came the closest to finding the back of the net, but O’Reilly denied him with a superb reflex save from close range. The final whistle signalled a victorious end to the season for Cardiff City’s U21 development side, with the Bluebirds finishing in a respectable third position in Professional Development League Two South – only tasting defeat in one competitive match since the start of 2016.
U21 FINAL SCORE: CARDIFF CITY 3-1 CRYSTAL PALACE
Cardiff City: O'Reilly, Rees, Tutonda, Patten, Menayese, Turner, Kennedy, Wharton (Southam 67’), Healey (Abbruzzese 88’), Bird, Harris (Phipps 71’). Subs Not Used: Coughlan, James.