Palace frustrate Bluebirds
Cardiff missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders after being held to a 1-1 draw by Crystal Palace.
Last Updated: 17/10/09 6:14pm
Cardiff City missed the chance to close the gap on the leaders after being held to a frustrating 1-1 draw at home by Crystal Palace.
Dave Jones' side were forced to come from behind to claim a point as former Palace defender Mark Hudson's own goal gifted his old club the lead on 13 minutes.
The hosts were level just six minutes later, though, when Peter Whittingham equalised and Palace keeper Julian Speroni then kept Cardiff at bay.
Joe Ledley, who missed Wales' double-header against Finland and Liechtenstein with a pelvic problem, returned to the Cardiff midfield in the only change to the side that beat Watford 4-0 prior to the international break.
For Palace, Victor Moses overcame a thigh injury to start while Freddie Sears and Stern John returned to the bench after long injury lay-offs.
The visitors adopted a 4-5-1 formation with Alan Lee at the apex of their attack.
And it was the former Bluebirds forward, spurred on by the presence of his striking rivals in reserve, who forced the opening goal.
Danny Butterfield crossed from the right and Lee's header was diverted into the Cardiff net by Hudson.
But Palace's wonder start did not last long. Firstly they lost Moses, who had begun promisingly, to injury and then they lost the lead.
Winger Chris Burke jinked his way into the penalty area and his cross found its way through to Whittingham, who finished from six yards.
The goal settled the home side and they took control of the ball and the flow of the game.
Palace were suddenly over-run and goalkeeper Speroni was seemingly the only barrier between Cardiff and the lead.
Firstly the Argentine saved a testing drive from Anthony Gerrard and then he tipped Whittingham's header around the post.
Burke, Gerrard and Michael Chopra all had further attempts before the break but they failed to score.
Cardiff struggled to regain the same tempo after half-time, although Gerrard headed over from a Whittingham corner.
With 30 minutes remaining Cardiff boss Jones brought on Ross McCormack for Jay Bothroyd in the hope of injecting some more life into their attack.
But it was McCormack's strike partner Chopra who had the next chance, only for the forward's shot to be blocked by Patrick McCarthy.
Butterfield had a rare attempt for Palace but his shot went over the bar.
Whittingham continued to be Cardiff's main goal threat but his 20-yard shot went wide.
The introduction of John, who had not played since the opening day of the season, lifted Palace's attack and he fired over the bar with just over 10 minutes remaining as Palace sensed a first win at Cardiff in five years.
But their aspirations ended when Neil Danns watched his late free-kick sail comfortably into Cardiff goalkeeper David Marshall's arms.