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Palace's Last 10 Away-Day Openers

17 June 2015

Crystal Palace face Premier League new boys Norwich City on the opening day of the 2015/16 Barclays Premier League season – but the Eagles have plenty of reason to be positive going into the game at Carrow Road. 

Palace have an impressive record in their last 10 away day openers, winning six of those matches and losing just three, dating back to the opening day of the 1996/97 First Division campaign. 

One of those matches was against the Canaries when they were once again new in the division in 2004/05, a season that also saw Palace in the Premier League.

Crystal Palace's form in their last 10 away-day opening fixtures:
Goals For19
Goals Against15
Goal Difference+4

Ahead of the trip to East Anglia, delved into the archives to take a look at Palace’s recent record on opening day away trips.  

Everton 1-2 Crystal Palace, Saturday 9th August 1997
Off the back of that play-off triumph, Palace were handed a tough start to life back in the Premier League with a trip to Goodison Park. 

Everton were the favourites to start their season with a win, but the Eagles’ marquee summer signing Attilio Lombardo had other ideas, putting the visitors in front before half time.

A Bruce Dyer penalty doubled Palace’s advantage on 77 minutes and although Duncan Ferguson made it a nervous finish for Steve Coppell’s men, they clung on for a memorable opening day victory.

That proved to be one of six away wins for the Eagles throughout the campaign, but they could not prevent the club finishing bottom of the Premier League and falling back into the second tier. 

Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Crystal Palace, Saturday 12th August 2000
Unable to secure an immediate return to the top flight, Palace opened their 2000/01 season away to promotion favourites Blackburn – and two goals in four first half minutes killed off the Eagles. 

Former Welsh international striker Nathan Blake gave Rovers the lead on 41 minutes, before former Palace man Matt Jansen scored against his former side on the stroke of half time. 

It sparked the start of a turbulent season in SE25, as the Eagles produced a great escape with away wins over Portsmouth and Stockport County saving their First Division status. 

Rotherham United 2-3 Crystal Palace, Saturday 11th August 2001
Newly-promoted Rotherham were Palace’s opponents in what was a tricky away start to the 2001/02 First Division season. 

The Millers started in confident mood as goals from former Manchester United striker Mark Robins and journeyman Guy Branston left the Eagles in a real pickle.

A Dougie Freedman penalty halved the deficit six minutes before the break to give Palace a fighting chance at 2-1 down. 

And Steve Bruce’s men turned the game on its head in the second period, as goals from Finland international Aki Riihilahti and defender Jamie Smith completed the comeback in a thrilling 3-2 victory. 

Preston North End 1-2 Crystal Palace, Saturday 10th August 2002
Having lost to Bolton Wanderers in the First Division Play-Off Final 18 months previously, Preston presented stern opponents for Palace on the opening day of the 2002/03 campaign.

Even though the hosts had midfielder Eric Skora sent off just after the break, they took the lead through a young Ricardo Fuller on 68 minutes.

Trevor Francis’ side responded brilliantly though, with Darren Powell equalising merely 60 seconds later to silence the Deepdale crowd. 

That worked in Palace’s favour as Steve Kabba popped up with a late goal to ensure that all three points went back to Selhurst Park. 

Burnley 2-3 Crystal Palace, Saturday 9th August 2003
Palace started their campaign on the road for the fourth successive season – and for the third time in that spell, Lancashire was their destination. 

In what was a first half goal-fest, Dougie Freedman gave Palace the lead from the spot just six minutes in, before young winger Wayne Routledge was sent off with only 10 minutes on the clock.

Robbie Blake drew Burnley level five minutes later and, when defender Lee Roche put Burnley 2-1 up, the writing seemed to be on the wall for the 10-man Eagles.

However, Freedman had other ideas, bagging his second of the game to bring the visitors level before the break. 

On 67 minutes, Freedman completed a classy hat-trick, only for Sean Derry to be dismissed and leave Palace to play the final 22 minutes with just nine men.

Steve Kember’s men showed their resilience though to hang on for the victory – which proved crucial come the end of the season as new manager Iain Dowie led the club into the play-offs and ultimately, the Premier League.

Norwich City 1-1 Crystal Palace, Saturday 14th August 2004
Following their play-off final triumph over West Ham United, Palace faced a trip to fellow Premier League newcomers Norwich City on the opening day of the 2004/05 season.

It was the Canaries who drew first blood in a game that neither side wanted to lose, as former Newcastle United man Darren Huckerby put the hosts in front after 16 minutes at Carrow Road.

It stayed 1-0 at half time, but Palace pressed for an equaliser during the second half, which eventually came through Andrew Johnson, who netted the first of his 21 Premier League goals that season. 

They weren’t enough to save the Eagles from relegation though, as both they and Norwich went down on a dramatic last day Survival Sunday.  

Ipswich Town 1-2 Crystal Palace, Saturday 5th August 2006
After missing out on an immediate return to the top flight following a play-off semi-final defeat to Watford the previous season, manager Iain Dowie departed, with former Palace player Peter Taylor replacing him in the hot seat.

His first game in charge came against Ipswich at Portman Road, but reign got off to a sticky start when Nicky Forster put the Tractor Boys in front after 30 minutes. 

But two goals in three second half minutes saw the Eagles turn the tide and return to south London with all three points in the bag. 

First Jobi McAnuff struck just before the hour mark to bring the teams level, before James Scowcroft hit what proved to be the winning goal on 61 minutes. 

Southampton 1-4 Crystal Palace, Saturday 11th August 2007
After a solid mid-table finish in Peter Taylor’s first season in charge, Palace harboured hopes of a promotion push at the start of the 2007/08 season – and it began perfectly for them.

Two goals in a minute from James Scowcroft sent the Eagles flying into a 2-0 lead, before Poland international striker Marek Saganowski halved the deficit for Southampton right on the stroke of half time. 

That failed to trigger a momentum shift though and Scowcroft completed his hat-trick 10 minutes into the second period, with his striker partner Clinton Morrison rounding off a 4-1 triumph before the hour mark. 

Taylor was replaced by Neil Warnock two months later and although he led Palace to an unlikely top six finish, they were beaten by Bristol City in the play-offs.  

Peterborough United 2-1 Crystal Palace, Saturday 6th August 2011
After a four year gap between away day openers, Palace travelled to Peterborough’s London Road stadium at the start of the 2011/12 season. 

Having narrowly avoided relegation from the Championship in each of the previous two seasons, Dougie Freedman’s men were looking for a strong start to the campaign against the newly-promoted Posh, and the Eagles took the lead just after the half hour mark through Sean Scannell.

But goals from Grant McCann and David Ball transformed the game for Peterborough in the second half, as the hosts celebrated their first win in the second tier of English football since April 1993.  

Arsenal 2-1 Crystal Palace, Saturday 16th August 2014
Having staved off relegation for the first time in their Premier League history the previous May, there was plenty of optimism ahead of the 2014/15 season amongst the Palace faithful, but that was soon thrown into question following Tony Pulis' departure as manager 48 hours before the trip to the Emirates Stadium.

Keith Millen took temporary charge of the side for their opener and they shocked the Gunners when Brede Hangeland opened the scoring on his Eagles debut on 35 minutes, but they were pegged back before half-time by Laurent Koscielny.

Just as it looked that Palace were going to return south of the river with a useful point, Aaron Ramsey scrambled home a 90th minute winner to ensure the season began with a defeat.

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