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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:12 13th September 2011

Crystal Palace 2 Wigan 1

Palace booked a date with Middlesbrough in the Carling Cup third round after goals from Darren Ambrose and Jon Williams were enough to see off Premier League Wigan, despite a late Ben Watson goal.

Dougie Freedman brought Lewis Price, Williams and Stuart O'Keefe into the starting line-up against Wigan as his side looked to progress in the cup.

A slow start to the game saw only Ambrose come close to scoring in the first 15 minutes, his free-kick forcing an excellent low save from Latics keeper Ali Al-Habsi. The game continued to be a scrappy affair and only set-pieces seemed likely to break the deadlock, David Jones coming close for the visitors in the only other action of note in the first 20 minutes.

Then Palace slowly began to dominate, first Glenn Murray hitting the bar with a rising half-volley from the edge of the area, and then Ambrose opening the scoring for the home side. Wilfried Zaha doing brilliantly down the left-hand side and cutting the ball back for the Palace midfielder to score his first goal of the season.

Ambrose went close to his second moments later, a rasping drive which Al-Habsi did well to palm away, but still Palace came. Zaha doing well to get another cross in, this time on the right, and when Wigan couldn't clear Williams took full advantage. The youngster taking one touch to control and then firing a left-footed strike goalwards which seemed to wrong-foot Al-Habsi to make it 2-0.

It was one-way traffic now, Ambrose firing a free-kick just wide from 35 yards and then Paddy McCarthy almost making it three with a header at the back post that was deflected just wide. Murray continued to look a big threat up front, rising above Al-Habsi to meet Peter Ramage's deep cross and head just over, and then hitting the post with a similar effort from a Darren Ambrose delivery from the right.

Wigan fought their way back into the game well in the second half but there were few clear cut chances. For the visitors David Jones coming closest with a deflected shot that had Lewis Price scrambling across his goal, while McCarthy was unlucky to see his volley deflected just wide as he went to make it 3-0 from another Ambrose corner.

Wigan's James McCarthy then tried his luck on a couple of occasions, first a rasping volley flashed just wide of the goal, and then a shot from distance that Price had to be alert to save. Otherwise the Palace defence held firm, with the visitors limited to strikes from distance, as the game entered the final 10 minutes.

Their best move of the match was still to come though, as James McArthur's cross was met by Shaun Maloney who headed firmly goalwards only to see Price make another good stop, and then Patrick Van Aanholt slammed a left-footed effort onto the crossbar with a thunderous effort that almost brought the game to life.

The game meandered to a close though until Palace old boy and substitute Ben Watson hammered home a strike from 25 yards, after Price's punch clear, with just two minutes left, but Palace held firm and will now face Middlesbrough on Tuesday (20th September).

Crystal Palace: 34. Lewis Price, 3. David Wright 5. Paddy McCarthy (c), 7. Darren Ambrose (29. Andrew Dorman '84), 16. Wilfried Zaha, 17. Glenn Murray, 20. Jonathan Williams (15. Mile Jedinak '75), 21. Dean Moxey, 28. Stuart O'Keefe, 37. Aleksandar Tunchev, 28. Peter Ramage (12. Alex Marrow '72)

Subs Not Used: 1. Julian Speroni, 9. Steffen Iversen, 19. Jermaine Easter, 31. Calvin Andrew

Bookings: Marrow

Wigan: 26. Ali Al-Habsi, 4. James McCarthy, 6. Hendry Thomas (8. Ben Watson '66) , 7. Albert Crusat (15. Callum McManaman '66) , 10. Shaun Maloney, 16. James McArthur (30. Nuah Dicko '86), 18. Conor Sammon, 19. David Jones, 22. Patrick Van Aanholt, 24. Adrian Lopez, 31. Maynor Figueroa (c)

Subs: 12. Mike Pollitt, 11. Victor Moses, 14. Jordi Gomez, 21. Mohamed Diame

    Data provided by Press Association