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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
16:54 12th May 2014


A second brace in the space of six days from Dwight Gayle earned Palace a 2-2 draw at already relegated Fulham, as Chris David's stunning stoppage time equaliser denied the Eagles all three points.

The striker notched his seventh and eighth goals of the season either side of the break to wrap up a memorable week for the 24-year-old after his heroics against Liverpool, and showed both sides of his striking prowess by netting a poacher-like strike after 25 minutes before hammering in a free-kick seven minutes from time. 

But the Cottagers hit back on both occasions, with a pair of super strikes from Cauley Woodrow and then David earning them a share of the spoils on the final day of a memorable season.

With Palace cemented in 11th in the table the game was a good opportunity for Tony Pulis to try some new faces and handed Wayne Hennessey his debut as well as recalling Gayle and Thomas Ince to the starting line-up, and the on-loan Blackpool winger went close with a curler from the right after just 90 seconds. 

Five minutes later and Hennessey was forced into his first save for the Eagles when Alexander Kacaniklic smashed a shot towards goal after a corner, but the imposing Welshman managed to block the Swede's effort with his legs before Yannick Bolasie produced another fine piece of skill inside the penalty area but shanked the ball wide.

The end-of-season affair was a real end-to-end encounter and Fulham were next to go close when Woodrow swivelled in the area after battling for a loose ball and tested his luck, but his goal-bound strike was blocked and deflected wide by Damien Delaney.

Halfway through the first 45 the Cottagers should have taken the lead when a great cross by Chris David was failed to be turned in by Hugo Rodallega from a couple of yards out, and two minutes later they were punished when the visitors took the lead.

Joe Ledley played a delicious ball out wide to Yannick Bolasie who laid it off to Joel Ward, and his low shot was stabbed past David Stockdale by Gayle to register his third goal of a fantastic week for the striker.

Four minutes before the interval Palace nearly made it 2-0 when a great free-kick into the area from Ince was met by the towering Scott Dann's head, and he forced Stockdale to produce an acrobatic save to push the ball away from danger, but they only took the lead into the break after Hennessey produced a fine save of his own to thwart Fernando Amorebieta's header at the back post.

Headed chances continued to be a theme after the break and Rodallega again missed a sitter from six yards when he had all the time in the world to bury Amorebieta's delivery but inside hit the base of the post, but they did pull level on the hour mark.

David clipped a ball into the box which was held up well by Rodellega, and the Colombian laid it off for Woodrow, and the 19-year-old showed great composure to switch the ball onto his left foot and curl it past Hennessey to open his account for for the Whites.  

But after the game suffered the expected low with two teams with noting to play for this season apart from pride, the game then came to life again with seven minutes to go. Substitute Glenn Murray won a free-kick 25 yards out after a foul by Scott Parker, and Dwight Gayle stepped up to curl the ball past the Fulham wall and Stockdale to hand the advantage back to the Eagles and seemingly wrap up all three points.

He nearly completed his hat-trick late on when a swift counter-attack by Jason Puncheon allowed Murray the chance to shoot, and after his shot cannoned off the post, it hit Gayle but trickled wide of the post.

That was to prove costly though, as Fulham countered in the final minute of stoppage time and David cut inside Ward on the right to find himself a yard, before rifling an unstoppable left-footed shot in off the underside of the crossbar to stun debutant goalkeeper Hennessey and deny Palace what would have been a deserved final day victory.

Fulham: Stockdale, Heitinga, Hangeland, Sidwell, Kacaniklic (David 23), Richardson (Tunnicliffe 79), Rodallega, Zverotic (Dejagah 50), Woodrow, Parker, Amorebieta. Subs not used: Jorenen, Kasami, Mitroglou, Williams.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Ward, Bolasie, Jedinak (Dikgacoi 59), Ledley, Ince (Puncheon 71), Chamakh (Murray 74), Gayle. Subs not used: Speroni, Gabbidon, O'Keefe, Jerome.