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18:56 26th February 2011

Crystal Palace 3 Reading 3

Palace extended their unbeaten home run to ten games after a thrilling game against Reading, which saw six goals and two penalties, ended 3-3 at Selhurst Park

Dougie Freedman brought Steffen Iversen into the starting line-up, with Sean Scannell making way, as Palace looked to make it seven wins out of the last ten at Selhurst and the Eagles roared out of the blocks, taking the lead after just 43 seconds.

Palace lined up in a 4-4-2 with Darren Ambrose switching to the right of midfield and that change paid immediate dividends. Ambrose picking the ball up from a Steffen Iversen pass and driving at the Reading back four. Beating one challenge, he cut onto his right foot and drilled a low left-footed drive into the bottom corner.

Within five minutes it was almost two as James Vaughan's ball in from the left was cut back by Ambrose and Neil Danns' strike was brilliantly palmed off the line by Alex McCarthy, although there were some appeals that the ball had gone over the line.

After a breathless start from Palace, Reading began to come into the game and Noel Hunt had a golden chance to equalise. Ambrose's clearance was blocked and dropped towards Julian Speroni, uncharacteristically the Palace keeper spilt the ball at the feet of Hunt who completely missed the ball three yards out when a goal looked a certainty.

Down the other end it could have been two, great work down the left from Danns led to a wonderful chance for Ambrose as the ball fell to him on the volley from six yards, but he shot wide. And then it was two after great work from Vaughan who hounded Ivar Ingimarson and won the ball high up the pitch, the on-loan Everton striker cutting the ball back and Danns striking first time past McCarthy in the pouring rain.

Neil Danns

The rain was beginning to cause problems for both sides and a miscue from Paddy McCarthy saw Speroni punch clear from under his own bar. As Reading came again, Paddy McCarthy and Shane Long tangled and the assistant referee pointed to the spot as the Irishman went down. Long picked himself up and although Speroni went the right way he couldn't get a hand to the penalty as Reading reduced the arrears to 2-1.

Almost immediately from kick-off, Palace were down the other end and Iversen was brought down in the box by Reading keeper McCarthy. Up stepped Ambrose to restore the two goal cusion but although the penalty was struck well it was at a comfortable height for the Reading keeper who saved well.

Reading ended the first half well, but started the second even better as Long did well to get to the by-line and cut the back to Jimmy Kebe who, unmarked at the far post, volleyed home for 2-2.

The Royals continued to press and had the bulk of possession but an Ian Harte free-kick was their best effort in the following 15 minutes as the game became a bit of a battle in the second half, Freedman reacted by sending on Jermaine Easter for Vaughan and the change worked within minutes.

Against the run of play, Dean Moxey broke down the left from a KG pass and battled past the Reading full-back, his ball in found Easter who reacted quickest, flicking the ball up on his right foot and slamming a left-footed finish on the turn into the back of the net as Palace took the lead again.

Jermaine Easter

But back came Reading and minutes after Long completely miscued his header from six yards, a Jobi McAnuff ball in found Hunt who headed in for 3-3, and Reading had come from behind again.

Danns and Easter then had half-chances for Palace on the break but couldn't connect properly before Easter broke well and managed to toe poke the ball past McCarthy but the ball got stuck in the mud allowing the Reading keeper to rush back and pick the ball up. At the other end with just five minutes left, Kebe cut inside and drove the ball across goal and just wide.

A winning goal either way seemed likely but a wonderful game ended in a draw as the Eagles edged away from the relegation places with a point.


Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 3. David Wright, 5. Patrick McCarthy (c), 7. Darren Ambrose, 8. Neil Danns (Wilfried Zaha '85), 9. Steffen Iversen (Sean Scannell '70), 20. James Vaughan (Jermain Easter '63), 29. Dean Moxey, 31. Anthony Gardner, 34. Kagisho Dikgacoi

Subs Not Used: 4. Claude Davis, 10. Owen Garvan, 13. Lewis Price, 32. Pablo Counago

Reading: 41. Alex McCarthy, 5. Matt Mills (c), 7. Jay Tabb, 8. Mikele Leigertwood, 9. Shane Long, 10. Noel Hunt, 11. Jobi McAnuff, 14. Jimmy Kebe, 16. Ivar Ingimarsson (Zurab Khizanishvili '68), 23. Ian Harte, 24. Shaun Cummings (Jem Karacan '83)

Subs Not Used: 17. Michail Antonio, 18. Simon Church, 19. Hal Robson-Kanu, 20. Brian Howard, 31. Mikkel Andersen

Att: 13,845 (1,253) Ref: Mr A Bates

    Data provided by Press Association