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18:12 19th March 2011

Crystal Palace 2 Derby 2

Palace twice came from behind to gain a valuable point against a determined Derby side as they moved four points clear of the relegation places and extended their unbeaten run to 12 games at Selhurst Park.

Dougie Freedman made just one change from the team that beat Cardiff and went down narrowly at QPR, as Claude Davis returned to the starting line-up to replace the suspended Paddy McCarthy and it was Palace who started on top.

Hesitation in the Derby defence was a feature of the opening few minutes and goalkeeper Frank Fielding could consider himself lucky when his clearance hit James Vaughan but rebounded to safety rather than towards the net.

Then a wonderful Palace move starting deep in the half almost gave the Eagles the lead. Steffen Iversen's clever flick found KG, via Neil Danns and his ball with the outside of the foot found James Vaughan on the break. Vaughan's clever one-two with KG then almost got him in behind but Fielding was off his line quickly to save. The rebound fell to Iversen whose shot hit the left leg of the defender on the line and Derby escaped down the other end.

Some poor defending from Palace then saw the Rams take the lead. Anthony Gardner's clearance fell to Alberto Bueno and the Spaniard drew two defenders towards him before laying the ball into the path of Stephen Pearson who side footed home with his left foot from eight yards.

All that action and only ten minutes gone, but despite the lead Derby continued to look vulnerable at the back and another Fielding clearance fell to Darren Ambrose who had a half chance but his shot from 30 yards dropped comfortably wide.

Palace continued to press and an angled cross-field ball found Dean Moxey who took the ball down and hit a bullet volley with his left foot that screamed just over the bar. Better was to come from the left-back as an Ambrose free-kick was half cleared by a header, and Moxey hammered a half volley into the top left-corner from outside the box.

Celebration v Derby

Buoyed by the goal Palace continued to go forward with intent, first KG heading straight at Fielding from an Ambrose free-kick and then Ambrose himself forced the young keeper into a diving save after good work from Danns in the centre.

Derby continued to look a threat going forward and there were two or three moments of panic in the Palace box as half-clearances fell to Savage and then Barker but the Eagles defenders were able to clear. Bueno continued to look a threat and his ball almost found Steve Davies at the far post but the ball was well cleared and the scores remained level at half-time.

After half-time the pattern continued, the excellent Moxey hit another brilliant drive from distance and Iversen reacting fasted almost chipped in the rebound. Good work from Vaughan and the hugely impressive KG almost combining to great effect but the Rams defence clearing well.

Then out of nothing, Derby were ahead. Just after the hour, Jamie Ward collecting the ball out on the left wing, cut inside and hit a phenomenal strike from 30 yards that flew past Speroni and into the bottom corner.

That goal forced Freedman into attacking changes, and he brought on Jermaine Easter, Pablo Counago and Wilfried Zaha as Palace started to chase the game but it was Derby who came the closest to scoring next as Paul Green floated a ball to the back post where substitute Theo Robinson volleyed just wide.

With less than five minutes left, Danns persistance was rewarded as a run down the left was ended when he was tripped in the box. Darren Ambrose stepped up and slammed the ball into the back of the net as Fielding dived the wrong way.

Darren Ambrose

Encouraged by the equaliser Palace threw everything at the Rams in the last five minutes, but despite a good performance victory wasn't to be for the Eagles who picked up another valuable point.


Crystal Palace 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne 3. David Wright (Zaha '70), 4. Claude Davis, 7. Darren Ambrose (c), 8. Neil Danns, 9. Steffen Iversen (Counago '65), 20. James Vaughan (19. Jermaine Easter '54), 29. Dean Moxey, 31. Anthony Gardner, 34. Kagisho Dikgacoi

Subs Not Used: 10. Owen Garvan, 13. Lewis Price 14. Sean Scannell, 33. Kemy Agustien

Bookings: Vaughan

Derby: 34. Frank Fielding, 2. John Brayford, 3. Gareth Roberts, 4. Paul Green, 5. Shaun Barker, 7. Steve Davies (Addison '76), 8. Robbie Savage (c), 10. Jamie Ward, 11. Stephen Pearson (Bailey '90), 21. Daniel Ayala, 27. Alberto Bueno (Robinson '64)

Subs Not Used: 33. Matt Duke, 23. Conor Doyle, 28. Ben Davies, 36. Michael Boulding

Att: 14,686 (920) Ref: J Moss

    Data provided by Press Association