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18:40 13th November 2010

Crystal Palace 2 Coventry City 0

A Darren Ambrose brace gave Crystal Palace back to back league wins for the first time in the league since February as the Eagles climbed off the foot of the table. Just as against Watford, Palace began the game well with Tuesday's game-changer Wilfried Zaha particularly bright in the opening minutes and James Vaughan almost latching on to an early through-ball. Having lost their last two games, Coventry looked tentative initially and felt their way into the game slowly, but a free-kick in the seventh minute delivered by Carl Baker saw the visitors begin to exert some pressure. Minutes later, a long ball into the box fell to Marlon King who cut inside nicely but shot too close to Speroni, who saved well. A let off for Palace and one they almost took advantage of almost immediately when good skill from Zaha down the right ended with a low-cross that was well cleared. A carbon copy attack down the right followed minutes later with Neil Danns prominent but again the final ball wasn't quite there. The first clear cut chance fell the the visitors way on 16 minutes, when  a ball from the left from Gary McSheffrey fell to Lucas Jutkiewicz who miscued completely having exposed space in the Palace defence. At the other end, more good work from Zaha and Danns down the right saw a half-chance fall to Darren Ambrose, but his snap shot went just wide. Coventry continued to create chances and from a quick free-kick Marlon King found himself with plenty of space and time on the edge of the box but shot badly wide. The game continued to flow from end to end and David Wright's cross nearly fell to Neil Danns six-yards out as the Eagles continued to impress going forward. After just 23 minutes, Claude Davis, who had struggled with illness during the week, was replaced by Anthony Gardner. On 33 minutes, Palace's efforts going forward were rewarded when a Gary McSheffrey back-pass was inexplicably picked up by Kieron Westwood. The referee had no choice but to give Palace an indirect free-kick no more than six yards out. Neil Danns touched the ball back to Darren Ambrose who smashed the ball into the back of the net. Coventry may have felt that the goal was against the run of play but just as against Watford, Palace will feel they made the most of their chances. Marlon King continued to look good for the visitors and only good covering from Nathaniel Clyne prevented a certain equaliser, with Coventry's eighth corner of the half coming to nothing. The Sky Blues continued to press, with the unlikely figure of Lee Carsley breaking into the box, he crossed well and Coventry were only denied by a brilliant goal-line challenge from Paddy McCarthy with Jutkiewiecz well placed to score. On the stoke of half-time a lovely through ball from Nathaniel Clyne gave Neil Danns the chance to double Palace's lead but the midfielder was well crowded out by the Coventry back-line. The second-half followed much the same pattern as the end of the first. Within minutes Zaha played in Vaughan on the edge of the box but the striker opted to cut inside rather than shoot first time and was crowded out. Back up the other end and Gary McSheffrey's cross found Lee Carsley, his header seemed destined for the bottom corner before Speroni brilliantly palmed it away. Inches away from 1-1. Nine minutes into the second half, Darren Ambrose's low pass found Vaughan on the edge of the box and the striker was brought down by a challenge from Richard Wood. Penalty screamed the crowd, and the referee agreed, pointing to the spot. Up stepped Darren Ambrose to calmly send Westwood the wrong way and double the Eagles lead. It was all Palace now with both Vaughan and Ambrose coming close to getting the third that would surely seal the points. With time running out for Coventry, manager Aidy Boothroyd shuffled his pack. On came Aaron Gunnarson, who's long throws immediately seemed to cause Palace problems. Back down the other end, a wonderful run forward from Clyne, including a clever one-two with Ambrose, saw the young full-back hammer a shot across goal when well-placed. Again Palace broke away, this time through Neil Danns who found Zaha. The youngster beat two players brilliantly but was tackled by the third before he could get his shot away. Minutes later, Nathaniel Clyne broke with pace and with verve, whipping in a great ball from the byline which was brilliantly cleared by a desperate challenge with Neil Danns waiting to tap into an empty net. With Palace pouring forward in numbers it seemed almost a relief to the Coventry players when the final whistle went. But with two wins in two games it was the Palace fans cheering at the end as they saw their team move off the foot of the table. Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni; 2. Nathaniel Clyne; 3. David Wright; 4. Claude Davis. (Gardiner 25)  5. Paddy McCarthy, 7. Darren Ambrose (N'Diaye 85) 8. Neil Danns, 9. James Vaughan (Counago 79), 10. Owen Garvan, 16 Wilfried Zaha, 30. Alex Marrow. Subs not used :  13 Lewis Price, 15 Kieron Cadogan, 21 Kieran Djilali, 29 Jonathan Obika.  Booked : Wright, Danns and Vaughan. Coventry City: 1. Westwood, 2. Keogh, 15 Cranie (O'Donovan 82), 6 McPake, 24 Wood, 18 Baker (Gunnarsson 65) 5 Carsley, 8 Doyle, 19. McSheffrey, 11 Jutkiewicz, 9 King (Eastwood 71), Subs not used : 30 Cameron, 23 Ireland, 26 Clarke, 40 Thomas. Booked : Wood and McPake. Attendance: 13,278 (Away: 1,131)  
    Data provided by Press Association