Monday, January 30, 2012

Cardiff number two the hero in shoot-out


Cardiff City keeper Tom Heaton was the hero for the Bluebirds as they edged out Crystal Palace in an absorbing cup clash at the Cardiff City Stadium.

Heaton saved two penalties in the shoot-out to send Cardiff to the Carling Cup Final at the expense of Dougie Freedman’s spirited Palace side.

Having taken a 1-0 lead into the second leg, Palace were up against it early on when Anthony Gardner put through his own net. Don Cowie was played in down the right and his cross was headed in by the hero of the first leg.

The home side went on to dominate and threatened to take the tie away from the visitors. Kenny Miller – an outsider in the Championship top scorer betting - went agonisingly close twice just before the break but Palace survived. Their biggest threat came on the break, with Wilfried Zaha showing plenty of pace and purpose.

Cardiff continued to have the bulk of the chances in the second half and Patrick McCarthy did well to clear Anthony Gerrard’s goal-bound header off the line.

Things soon turned sour for McCarthy when he received a second yellow card for an ill-advised challenge on Miller. The skipper’s dismissal left Palace to face the last 12 minutes of normal time with ten men.

Cardiff pressed but couldn’t find any way past a stubborn Palace backline and the game went into extra time.

The Bluebirds again dominated but found the woodwork in their way. Substitute Filip Kiss clipped the top of the bar, before Aron Gunnarsson headed a gilt-edged chance against the bar.

Palace held out for a shoot-out and after Miller missed the first penalty, Heaton, number two to David Marshall in the Championship, became a hero with saves from Jermaine Easter and Sean Scannell to send the fans who Watch Football Live at the Cardiff City Stadium delirious and book a place at Wembley to face either Liverpool or Manchester City.

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