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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
03:27 9th July 2012

Yannick Bolasie's coolly taken first-half strike was enough for Palace to finally end their away day hoodoo as they beat Derby County 1-0 at Pride Park, but it was Julian Speroni who was the hero of the hour with a penalty save three minutes from time to ensure the Eagles returned to SE25 with all three points.

Having produced a string of fine saves throughout the encounter to keep the Rams at bay, the Palace stalwart saved his best for last as he tipped Connor Sammon's effort from 12 yards onto the crossbar to boost Ian Holloway's automatic promotion hopes and allow 10 away games without a win to become a distant memory.

Wilfried Zaha returned to the starting line-up after his ankle knock and he was first to record a meaningful shot on goal when he raced onto a flick-on from Glenn Murray and forced Adam Legzdins to beat his stinging shot away.

Another addition to the side was next to try his luck when Stephen Dobbie went close in the ninth minute after Dean Moxey's throw in was cushioned into his path by Murray, and the Scot's snap shot deflected just wide of the near post.

Having enjoyed a bright opening Palace needed to capitalise with a goal and they grabbed it after 13 minutes. Mile Jedinak won a 50/50 challenge in  his own half and the ball ricocheted into acres of space in front of the Derby goal and Bolasie sped ahead of a number of players to win the race for possession, and rounded Ledzdins before firing the ball into the net to score his third of the campaign.

It was nearly double delight for the Eagles when minutes later the masked Jedinak took aim from 30 yards and saw his thunderbolt smack the crossbar and fly out of play, but the home side began to apply some pressure and the lively Jamie Ward twice tested Speroni in quick succession.

Only a combination of the Palace custodian and his woodwork kept the clean sheet intact before the break as the Rams began to take a stranglehold of the match. Speroni saved well from Craig Bryson and former Palace striker Chris Martin but he was helpless when John Brayford cut inside Moxey and saw his drive thump off the underside of the crossbar as the Eagles' desperately clung onto their lead.

Holloway's men were reduced to breaking on the counter-attack, and Dobbie saw a shot drift just wide of the target after being played in by the red-hot Bolasie, but the roles were reversed in the final minute of the half as Bolasie again found himself one-on-one with Legzdins but after lofting the ball over the keeper Bryson headed off the line.

Following the interval Nigel Clough's side continued to carve out chances as they camped themselves inside Palace's half and Speroni again saved with his legs to block a point-blank range shot from Sammon on 51 minutes, however substitute Jonny Williams to embarked on a great run on 64 minutes but saw Legzdins tip his shot from just outside the area over the crossbar.

Derby continued to threaten at the other end and Michael Jacobs spooned an effort wide from a Coutt's cross and once again Palace had Speroni to thank for keeping the Rams at bay when he made a fingertip stop to thwart Brayford.

But just as it looked like the Eagles had done enough to secure the victory, with just four minutes to play Ben Davies went down in the box under minimal contact by Damien Delaney and it looked as though the Rams would steal a late point from the spot, but Speroni produced one final piece of heroics to divert Sammon's penalty onto the bar which allowed Palace to see out the game, and the relief was evident at the final whistle as they celebrated their first win on the road since November.

Derby County: Legzdins, Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts, Coutts (Davies 84), Hendrick, Bryson, Martin (Bennett 80), Sammon, Ward (Jacobs 42). Subs not used: Fielding, Doyle, Hoganson, Gjokaj.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Richards (Williams 60), Moxey, Delaney, Ramage, Bolasie (Phillips 73), Dikgacoi, Dobbie (Butterfield 58), Jedinak, Murray, Zaha. Subs not used: Parr, Marrow, Wilbraham, Price.