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14:14 2th October 2010

Crystal Palace 1-2 QPR

Crystal Palace were within two minutes of holding Championship table toppers QPR to a draw here at Selhurst Park, after Heidar Helguson's dramatic late winner snatched the three points for Neil Warnock's side. A mistake three minutes into the second half by Edgar Davids had allowed Adel Taarabt to give Rangers the lead, but Kieron Cadogan had looked to have given the Eagles a late point until Helguson's header a three minutes into stoppage time won it for Rangers. Typical of a London derby, the game got off to a blistering start with both sides creating a series of clear opportunities to break the deadlock in what turned out to be an exciting first 45 minutes. As early as the third minute Palace had struck the woodwork when when Andy Dorman, in for an injured Neil Danns, hit the post from eight yards. Davids' free kick 20 yards out deflected into the path of Kieran Djilali on the right, and his ball into the box was met by Dorman with a first time left footed effort that bounced into the ground and hit the post. A minute later Rangers responded when Jamie Mackie, despite looking offside, was released through the middle but was quickly closed down by Julian Speroni. The Argentine almost turned provider moments later when he collected superbly from a cross and immediately threw the ball out to Owen Garvan. The Irishman collected it just inside his own half and carried it to midway into the Rangers half, drawing in Clint Hill in the process before releasing Wilfried Zaha on the right. The young striker took the ball down the right channel and unleashed a low effort that Paddy Kenny had to quickly get down to to make the save. The ball rebounded back into Zaha's path, but once again Kenny saved from the striker's first time shot. There were similar goalkeeping heroics at Palace's end when Speroni was called into action with two decent saves. His first was a two handed parry from Taarabt's long range effort, and then he had to get up quickly to smother Mackie as the Rangers' striker collected the rebound. The visitors continued to exert pressure on the Palace defence, and after Speroni flicked Hogan Ephraim's dangerous cross out of the path of Mackie at the back post, Heidar Helguson arguably should have done better when his downward header from a corner bounced over the bar. But Palace looked comfortable throughout the half in soaking up QPR's forward play, and patiently waited for their chances to catch them on the counter attack. It almost paid off for the Eagles when Djilali broke down the left, dropped his shoulder on the edge of the box to lose his marker and lofted a cross to the back post for Pablo Coungago. But, under pressure from Clint Hill, the Spaniard couldn't direct his header on goal. Somehow though the scores remained level in the final minutes of the half, despite both sides coming agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock. Three minutes from the break QPR were denied in a bizarre period of play when Helguson's cross from the byline cannoned off Paddy McCarthy and onto the post so quickly that noone really had any time to react. For the Eagles, Dorman saw an effort from the corner of the six yard box deflected off for a corner, and then Julian Bennett connected with the resulting set piece but his header was cleared off the line. Palace came out for the second half with one change, Kieron Cadogan given the nod to take over from Pablo Counago meaning that Zaha moved up to a lone striker's role. But a mistake three minutes into the restart disrupted all of the home side's plans when Davids failed to see Mackie lurking on the shoulder of McCarthy, and attempted a pass back to Speroni from midway inside his own half. The former Plymouth Argyle striker latched onto it gratefully, skipped round Speroni and squared it to Taarabt for the simplest of finishes. The goal led to further changes from Burley, with Davids sacrificed for Anthony Gardner, who slipped into central defence alongside McCarthy and Marrow moved up into midfield. QPR though were full of confidence and Helguson again should have done better when, unmarked, he headed over from a corner, while a last ditch touch from Clyne took the ball away from Ephraim as the winger looked to connect with a cross to the back post. Speroni then had to be aware when Helguson tried a snap shot from 25 yards out, meeting a knock down from Mackie to aim a half volley that the Argentine had to watch all the way and save with both hands. As the game entered its final 25 minutes, the Eagles suddenly stepped things up. And after Garvan saw his effort blocked on the edge of the box, Marrow showed a clever turn of pace on the left to leave Hill trailing before clipping a cross in that Gorkss just beat Cadogan to. But Burley's side came even closer on 79 minutes when Garvan's free kick from the left was inches away from dropping inside the far post, as the slightest of touches from a Rangers defender diverting it at the last moment.  Heads were in hands again four minutes from time when a cross in from the left took Zaha by surprise when free six yards out. But the young striker redeemed himself with two moments of sublime skill moments later. His first was a clever swivel to leave Hogan Ephraim clueless by the byline, but his shot from a tight angle was saved at the near post. His second was arguably even better because this time it was rounded off with an end product. Finding himself closely guarded by Hill in the right channel, a quick drop of the shoulder set him free and this time, instead of looking for the shot, he showed the presence of mind to pull it back to Cadogan for a tap in. With Selhurst Park still rocking, Rangers then shocked the Palace support into silence when they went straight back up the other end and restored their lead. Heidar Helguson was the man responsible when he beat Speroni to a lofted ball into the box and headed into the net. The Argentine was furious at the referee believing he had been fouled by the Rangers striker, but replays showed that the challenge was a fair one, albeit a frustrating one, and the Icelandic international reeled away in celebration. Stay with for George Burley's post match thoughts.  Attendance: 17,171  With Claude Davis and Neil Danns out after picking up injuries in the game away at Cardiff, George Burley has brought in Andy Dorman and Julian Bennett to the starting XI, while Edgar Davids is set to make his home debut. Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni; 2. Nathaniel Clyne; 5. Paddy McCarthy; 10. Owen Garvan; 11. Andy Dorman (12. Calvin Andrew, 79); 16. Wilfried Zaha; 19. Julian Bennett; 20. Edgar Davids (31. Anthony Gardner, 56); 21. Kieran Djilali; 30. Alex Marrow; 32. Pablo Counago (15. Kieron Cadogan, 45) Subs: 13. Lewis Price; 24. Charlie Holness; 25. Alassane N'Diaye; 28. Stuart O'Keefe QPR: 1.Paddy Kenny; 3. Clint Hill; 4. Shaun Derry; 7. Adel Taarabt (21. Tommy Smith, 73); 9. Heidar Helguson; 10. Akos Buszaky (6. Mikele Leigertwood, 82); 12. Jamie Mackie; 13. Kaspars Gorkss; 15. Kyle Walker; 16. Matt Connolly; 25. Hogan Ephraim Subs:  14. Martin Rowlands; 19. Patrick Agyemang; 24. Radek Cerny; 26. Garry Borrowdale; 33. Antonio German
    Data provided by Press Association