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Match Reports

Report: Crawley Town 3-0 Palace

27 July 2013

Palace slipped to their first defeat of pre-season after coming unstuck at Crawley Town, with the hosts scoring three times to secure victory against an Eagles side just a week into their pre-season fixtures.

The hosts were playing their seventh game of the summer and their extra match sharpness was evident throughout as they prepare for league action next Saturday, and goals from Billy Clarke , Sergio Torres and Mat Sadler secured a morale boosting win for the Red Devils.

The game kicked off in a downpour but Palace carved out a an early chance when Jose Campana's corner fell to Damien Delaney who got a good connection onto the delivery but saw his header flash inches wide of Paul Jones' far post after just two minutes.

After a quiet opening 15 minutes Palace were fractions away from opening the scoring when Jerome Thomas was tripped on the edge of the area. Stephen Dobbie stepped up to take the free-kick and found a way over the wall but saw it whistle just over the crossbar.

Dwight Gayle was next to try his luck at breaking the deadlock with a fizzing drive from 25 yards was saved one-handed by Jones with Dobbie steering the rebound well off target, and Aaron Wilbraham did well to hold off a defender but couldn't find enough power to trouble the Red Devils' goalkeeper.

However the best chance of the half came when Thomas broke through on goal but when faced one-one-on-one with Jones couldn't find the net as he pulled off a good stop, and it proved costly as minutes later the home side took the lead with their first real opportunity of the game. 

After forcing his way into the area Gary Alexander's attempted shot ricocheted off a Palace defender and landed perfectly into the path of Billy Clarke who tucked the ball past Julian Speroni.

The goal had come against the run of play but it seemed to reinvigorate Crawley, and Speroni made a great save down to his right to push skipper Josh Simpson effort around the post minutes later, and the same player saw a first-time smash fly narrowly over the Argentinian's goal as they ended the half strongly.

Ian Holloway made six changes at the break but after Mile Jedinak fired a free-kick just off target in the opening stages but Crawley continued to press and saw three attempts saved comfortably by Speroni in quick succession from substitute Jamie Proctor twice and James Hurst.

More changes after the hour mark further fragmented the game but Palace created a couple of good chances for Quincy Owusu-Abeyie and Kevin Phillips but they failed to trouble Jones.

However the hosts grabbed a second on 73 minutes when Hurst picked the ball up on the right of the area and blasted towards goal. Ross Fitzsimons did well to acrobatically keep it out but the rebound landed straight to the diving Sergio Torres who doubled the lead.

And with four minutes remaining Crawley put a gloss on the result when a cross from the right was hammered superbly into the net by left-back Mat Sadler on the volley to give the scoreline an unflattering look.

Crawley: Jones, Hurst, Sadler, Connolly, Clarke (Proctor 46), Torres, Alexander, Drury, Simpson (Jones 78), Walsh, Bulman (Wills 46). Subs not used: McFadzean, Essam, Adams, Adekunle, Malins, Maddison.

Palace: Speroni (Fitzsimons 62), Ward (Taylor 62), Gabbidon (Ramage 46), Delaney (Wynter 62), Moxey (Jerome Williams 62), Jedinak (O'Keefe 62), Campana (Jon Williams 46), Dobbie (Bolasie 46), Wilbraham (Phillips 46), Gayle (Owusu-Abeyie 46), Thomas (A Trialist 46). Subs: De Silva, Boateng.

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