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22:20 21st June 2012

Palace stayed top of the npower Championship with a comfortable 3-0 win at Selhurst Park over Nigel Clough's Derby County side.

Ian Holloway made one change from the 2-1 win at Peterborough as goalscoring substitute Andrew Mortiz replaced Owen Garvan and it was the Brazilian midfielder who provided the first excitement of the game as he burst on to Glenn Murray's flick-on only to be denied by Jake Buxton's sliding tackle. Derby had set up in a 4-4-1-1 with top scorer Theo Robinson on the bench, but Michael Jacobs showed that the visitors hadn't just come to defend as he flashed a left footed cross along the six yard line to worry Julian Speroni.

Moments later Palace had the lead and in incredibly simple fashion. Yannick Bolasie's vicious inswinging centre found Glenn Murray at the back post and the striker made no mistake as he headed home his 14th goal of the season. The Eagles began to dominate with Mile Jedinak and Kagisho Dikgacoi breaking up the visitors' attacks with ease and prompting raids from the dangerous combination of Wilfried Zaha and Bolasie out wide.

Jedinak almost got the reward for his storming first half display, only to see his flicked header from Mortiz's corner drop just wide of the post. Then, after a quiet start, Zaha began to come into his own, twice beating Gareth Roberts for pace on the right-wing and then drawing a foul from John Brayford on the other flank that saw the full-back receive the first booking of the game.

Murray then showed the other side of his game as he brilliantly linked with on-rushing midfielders twice in as many minutes. A one-two with Moritz nearly saw the Brazilian score his third goal in as many games and then a clever flick found Dikgacoi bombing through, but the South African's shot flew harmlessly into the stands.

Having dominated the first half, Palace began the second on the front foot as Zaha stepped outside Roberts but Moritz couldn't control his close-range shot and the difference stayed at one. Clough's side then had their best spell of the game, pegging the Eagles back and Richard Keogh came closest to an equaliser from Paul Coutts' cross before young Will Hughes shot straight at Speroni.

The Rams' new starlet showed enough to suggest he will have a big future in the game but he could only watch on as Palace doubled their lead. Damien Delaney's long diagonal into Murray was headed down expertly by the target man for Moritz to get the goal his performance deserved with a stinging left-foot volley.

Murray almost had his second of the game within seconds of the restart but saw his fierce drive deflected over and header from the resulting corner well blocked as the Rams kept the deficit at two. Dikgacoi tried his luck from another Moritz corner and as Palace pressed Murray added his second.

It was a wonderful individual effort from the forward who won an aerial battle with Jake Buxton, drove into the box and beat Richard Keogh before firing past Legzdins to send the Palace faithful into raptures again and seal the victory.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Parr, Bolasie (Easter 89), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Zaha, Murray (Wilbraham 89), Delaney, Ramage, Moritz (Garvan 76)
Subs: Blake, Moxey, O'Keefe, Price.
Bookings: Jedinak

Derby: Legzdins, Brayford, Coutts (Tyson 80), Roberts, Hendricks, Keogh, Hughes, Buxton, Jacobs, Bryson, Sammon (Robinson 74) 
Subs: O'Connor, Fielding, O'Brien, Hoganson, Gjokaj
Bookings: Brayford

Attendance: 16,211 (Away: 1,005)