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Gardner pounces for Palace

Anthony Gardner pounced on a Tom Heaton error to give Crystal Palace a slender aggregate lead from last night's all-Championship Carling Cup semi-final first leg, WRITES Ben Rumsby.

Former Tottenham defender Gardner was presented with an empty net two minutes before the break after goalkeeper Heaton failed to claim Darren Ambrose's free-kick.

Promotion-chasing Cardiff were favourites against a Palace side who had stunned Manchester United at Old Trafford in the previous round but are only mid-table in the league.

Cardiff dominated the opening exchanges but Palace grew into the game and struck just before the interval as Heaton tried in vain to claim Ambrose's free-kick.

Heaton was easily out-jumped by Mile Jedinak, whose flick-on was nodded in by Gardner.

Chris Martin went close to diverting in Ambrose's shanked shot as Palace began the second half strongly, but Cardiff saw a potential equaliser chalked off when Kenny Miller's header from a corner was ruled out, apparently for a foul on Julian Speroni.

Aron Gunnarsson fired just over with an angled shot and Peter Whittingham's goal-bound effort was deflected wide as Cardiff finished strongly but were unable to find the net.

Irish Independent