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Match Report


Posted Sat 14 Apr 12 at 14:38 PM


Town came from behind to claim a share of the spoils after drawing with Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

Jason Scotland's individual goal a minute before the hour mark cancelled out Chris Martin's first-half opener for the Eagles.

Both sides had opportunities to snatch all three points, with Lee Martin going close for Town while Sean Scannell had Palace's best opportunity late on.

Paul Jewell made three changes to the side that lost to Leicester on Easter Monday, with Jay Emmanuel-Thomas, Andy Drury and Martin returning to the side in place of Lee Bowyer, Ryan Stevenson and Josh Carson.

Town made a bright start to the game and forced Julian Speroni in the Palace goal into a first save of the match as early as the fourth minute, with the Argentine keeping out Martin's effort from the edge of the area.

Blues went close again after a quarter of an hour, with Scotland just failing to connect with Aaron Cresswell's teasing centre at the back post.

Three minutes later and a well worked free-kick saw Grant Leadbitter create the room for a drive from 25-yards, but the midfielder's shot flew just wide of the post with Speroni rooted to his line.

The hosts did create the best chance of the half though after 24 minutes, with Wilfried Zaha playing in former Blue Darren Ambrose, but his shot was charged down by Town stopper Arran Lee-Barrett.

Seconds later and Town immediately countered, with Scotland turning Paul McShane on the edge of the area but the striker dragged his shot just wide of Speroni's right-hand post.

Town were the dominant side and Scotland showed a neat touch to volley goalwards, but he was denied by a superb reflex save from Speroni who pushed the ball behind for a corner after 26 minutes.

However despite being on top, Town soon found themselves behind as Palace broke the deadlock ten minutes before the break. Neat work from Scannell and Nathaniel Clyne saw the pair combine, before right-back Clyne played in Chris Martin who made no mistake in firing past Lee-Barrett.

Then on the stroke of half-time Zaha showed neat feet to beat Carlos Edwards, but fired wide of the target before the referee blew his whistle soon after to signal the end of the first-half.

Paul Jewell brought on Michael Chopra in place of Emmanuel-Thomas 11 minutes after the restart and the striker was instantly involved in the move that brought Town level.

Chopra laid the ball off to Leadbitter, who immediately sent Scotland through down the left, and the former Swansea striker cut inside Clyne before unleashing a swerving right-footed effort that flew past Speroni and into the top corner with 59 minutes on the clock.

The home side tried to evoke an immediate response and Ambrose tested Lee-Barrett with a shot from distance, but the 'keeper was equal to it and held onto the ball well.

Blues went close again with 21 minutes remaining, Lee Martin hitting a shot that deflected just wide of the target and behind for a corner.

A smart move from Palace almost saw them retake the lead though, with Owen Garvan playing in Scannell but the winger failed to hit the target and his effort flew into the side netting after 74 minutes.

Shortly after Town went close themselves, Daryl Murphy looping a header towards goal that landed on the roof of Speroni's net.

Palace did have claims for a penalty waved away late on, as Zaha went over under Cresswell's challenge but the protests were waved away, before Edwards was unlucky to see his drive fly just over in injury time for Town.

That's the way it stayed as Town left Selhurst Park was a deserved point. Blues are next in action on Tuesday evening, welcoming Birmingham to Portman Road (kick-off 7.45pm).

Palace: Speroni, Clyne, McCarthy, McShane, Moxey, Ambrose (Parr 78), O'Keefe, Dikgacoi (Garvan 34), Scannell (De Silva 74), Zaha, Martin. Subs not used: Price, Pedroza.

Booked: O'Keefe

Town: Lee-Barrett, Edwards, Smith, Delaney, Cresswell, Leadbitter, Drury, Emanuel-Thomas (Chopra 56), Martin, Murphy, Scotland (Stevenson 84). Subs not used: Cropper, Sonko, Bowyer.

Booked: Smith, Delaney, Martin

Att: 17, 961 (1, 428 Town fans)

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