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17:25 19th February 2011

Ambrose Belter Sees Eagles Blunt The Bla

Crystal Palace moved five points clear of visitors Sheffield United after a fabulous Darren Ambrose volley was enough to give the Eagles a 1-0 win over their relegation rivals.

Dougie Freedman welcomed back Neil Danns and handed a debut to loan signing Kagisho Dikgacoi as Palace took on United at Selhurst.

It was the Blades who started the better, flinging a succession of crosses into the box but it was Palace who created the first real opening when, against the run of play, Danns broke well and found Wilfried Zaha. In a move reminiscent of the goal at Watford earlier this month, the young winger slipped in James Vaughan, who, this time fired over.

Quinn and Creswell continue to work well down the United left, but more solid defending by Paddy McCarthy and Anthony Gardner kept the game level. Nathaniel Clyne then made an excellent clearance off the line after Richard Cresswell's clever flick on from a corner.

Palace's new signing KG had looked impressive in the early stages and he nearly broke the deadlock midway through the first half, the South African international brought the ball down on his chest and hammered the ball at goal, Simonsen parried and Ambrose could only hit the rebound narrowly wide.

A header from Nyron Nosworthy then saw Speroni make a decent save as United continue to get success in the wide areas and cross dangerously.

Down the other end Vaughan won a free-kick that Darren Ambrose hammered goalward, the ball flicking off the wall drawing a good save from Simonsen.

The game continued to ebb and flow with neither team imposing themselves although for the Eagles, Ambrose did latch onto a James Vaughan knock-down to draw another save from the Sheffield goalkeeper. The Blades threatened with a couple of free-kicks just before half-time but the half ended level.

Ten minutes into the second half, Dean Moxey broke down the left and won Palace a free-kick on the edge of the box but Ambrose' could only drive his shot into the wall. The Blades continued to work hard for Micky Adams without really threatening the Palace goal.

Dougie Freedman then introduced Sean Scannell and his impact was immediate. The youngster winning a flick on to find Vaughan, Vaughan finding Ambrose who well and truly ended his goal drought in style. The midfielder flicking the ball up with his left-foot and hammering a right-footed volley over Simonsen and into the top corner.

Darren Ambrose

With the lead, Palace started to take control of the game forcing Micky Adams to use all three substitutes in quick succession, although the Blades continued to look dangerous from set-pieces. Scannell continued to make the difference and a great run down the left ended with a dangerous cross that was well cleared with Neil Danns waiting to pounce.

With five minutes to go, the Blades swung a corner in and Marcus Bent headed goalwards with David Wright clearing well off the line. Scannell again broke brilliantly, releasing Ambrose at just the right time but the goalscorer could only fire into the Holmesdale with the goal at his mercy.

Darren Ambrose

Five minutes of injury time were added, as the tension rose at Selhurst, but 1-0 it ended as Palace continued their wonderful run at home which has now seen them win six of their last nine games and keep eight consecutive clean sheets at Selhurst.

Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 3. David Wright, 5. Paddy McCarthy, 7. Darren Ambrose (Claude Davis '87), 8. Neil Danns, 16. Wilfried Zaha (Sean Scannell '66), 20. James Vaughan (Pablo Counago ' 87), 29. Dean Moxey, 31. Anthony Gardner 34. Kagisho Dikgacoi

Subs Not Used: 13. Lewis Price, 6. Adam Barrett, 9. Steffen Iversen, 19. Jermaine Easter

Sheffield United: 1. Steve Simonsen, 8. Michael Doyle (Ched Evans '72), 14. Lee Williamson, 17. Richard Cresswell (c), 23. Neill Collins, 21. Shane Lowry, 34. Matt Lowton, 3. Nyron Nosworthy, 10. Daniel Bogdanovic (Mark Yeates '76), 38. Bjorn Helge Riise, 28. Stephen Quinn (Marcus Bent '72)

Subs Not Used: 25. George Long, 6. Johnny Ertl, 12. Jean Calve, 33. Elian Parrino

Att: 14,214 (890) Ref: Mr K Hill

    Data provided by Press Association