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13:40 7th May 2011

Crystal Palace 0 Nottingham Forest 3

Palace went down 3-0 down to an impressive Nottingham Forest side in the last game of the season but, with safety secured for next season, Selhurst Park looked forward to another season of Championship football.

Dougie Freedman made three changes to the side that earned survival at Hull last weekend as Neil Danns, Pablo Counago and Anthony Gardner came into the Palace team.

It was the ever present Nathaniel Clyne who provided the first chance of the game when he got to the by-line but his cross was well cleared for a corner. Paddy McCarthy got to the set-piece quickest but sent his diving header just wide.

Forest's first chance came from a Lewis McGugan set-piece which found Luke Chambers. The centre-back met the corner well but his header was cleared off the line by Pablo Counago on the post. Seconds later McGugan crashed a half volley just wide with Speroni beaten but that was a warning sign that Palace failed to heed.

Danger-man McGugan it was who struck the first blow just fifteen minutes into the game, Anthony Gardner's heading falling nicely for the midfielder to fire his strike into the ground and passed Speroni. Forest almost doubled the lead moments later but the Palace back four had stepped up just in time and Kris Boyd's close range finish was ruled out for offside.

Forest continue to control the pace and twenty-five minutes into the game things got tougher for Palace when Dean Moxey mis-timed a challenge and was given a straight red card. That forced Freedman into a reshuffle and he reacted immediately by bringing on Claude Davis for Counago and moving Gardner to left-back.

The visitors continued to have the better of the game but created little else before half-time and went in at the break comfortably ahead.

The second half started in similar fashion with Forest bossing possession until a Neil Danns run saw him fire a strike narrowly wide of Lee Camp's post. Freedman then brought on Sean Scannell and that seemed to lift the Palace players as Paddy McCarthy went close with a header after beating Camp to a Darren Ambrose free-kick.

That spell of attacking pressure proved to be a false dawn though as Forest soon made it 2-0. Brendan Moloney's ball in from the right easily headed in by Marcus Tudgay from close range. With ten minutes left Forest made it 3-0. Substitute David McGoldrick striking from distance with a finish of real quality that swerved with pace past Speroni in the Palace goal.

A Darren Ambrose free-kick in injury time was the closest Palace came to a goal, with the defeat a disappointing end to the season for the Eagles. With survival assured at Hull though management, fans and players could at least look forward to another year in the Championship next season.


Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 3. David Wright (16. Wilfried Zaha '71), 5. Patrick McCarthy (c), 7. Darren Ambrose, 8. Neil Danns, 19. Jermaine Easter (14. Sean Scannell '61), 29. Dean Moxey, 31. Anthony Gardner, 32. Pablo Counago (4. Claude Davis '27) 33. Kemy Agustien

Subs: 13. Lewis Price, 10. Owen Garvan, 15. Kieron Cadogan, 28. Stuart O'Keefe

Sent Off: Moxey

Forest: 1. Lee Camp (c) (38. Karl Darlow '74), 4. Luke Chambers, 5. Wes Morgan, 7. Darren Ambrose, 8. Lewis McGugan, 15. Chris Cohen, 16. Chris Gunter, 19. Guy Moussi (18. Paul McKenna '61), 20. Marcus Tudgay, 22. Kris Boyd (17. David McGoldrick '68), 27. Brendan Moloney

Subs: 9. Dele Adebola, 12. Gareth McCleary, 28. Radoslaw Majewski, 29. Julian Bennett

Bookings: Gunter

Att: 18,843 (3,136) Ref: Mr S Tanner

    Data provided by Press Association