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Pre-Season: Brentford 2-2 Crystal Palace

Posted on: Thu 30 Jul 2009

Nathaniel Clyne

Crystal Palace avoided defeat late on at Griffin Park in their fourth friendly of their pre-season tour with Jose Fonte levelling the scores late on after Myles Weston had given the home side a 2-1 lead in the second half. 

Darren Ambrose had given Palace the lead on 23 minutes with a deflected free kick before Shaun Derry put the ball into his own net as he unsuspectingly deflected a Patrick McCarthy header.

The first half was a wholly forgettable affair. Brentford looked the most comfortable in possession of the ball, while Palace looked to get it up to Alan Lee and Freddie Sears at every opportunity, but the Bees centre-halves coped well with both strikers and the sides cancelled eachother out.

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New signing Darren Ambrose started in the unfamiliar role of right wing and struggled to have much of an impact through the half, but showed glimpses of his quality with some neat touches and passes.

Freddie Sears headed up the attack, looking to feed off Alan Lee's knock downs but again the defensive combination of Mark Phillips and Karleigh Osborne coped well with the young striker and restricted him to only a couple of chances late in the half.

The home side had the first opportunity of the half as Marcus Bean tested Speroni's handling with a header that was always going to be comfortable for the Palace keeper.

Palace responded a minute later through Shaun Derry, who forced his way into a shooting position 20 yards from goal but his low left footed drive took a deflection past the post.

Palace then almost get caught out when a Danns mis-judged tackle was picked up by Ben Strevens, who then spread the play out to Sam Saunders.

The winger then had the time and space to cut in onto his left, take another touch before hitting a curling drive over the bar.

Brentford's best chance of the half came on 22 minutes when Sam Wood squirmed his way in behind Danny Butterfield on the left flank before improvising under pressure from McCarthy with a toe poke that ran just wide of the far post. 

But Palace managed to take the lead somwhat against the run of play on 23 minutes when a free kick was awarded 30 yards out from goal and Ambrose stepped up to take it.

Lining it up, he measured his run up directly behind the ball before striking it low and hard into a host of bodies in the Brentford box.

Unfortunately, due to an ill-placed pillar, it was unclear as to who it struck. But the change of direction tricked Lewis Price in the Brentford goal and he could only watch as the ball flew past him and into the net.

The lead didn't last long though. Seven minutes later a corner on the far side was whipped into the Palace box and an attempted headed clearance by McCarthy struck an unsuspecting Derry and trickled into the far corner.

Sears, who had struggled to make an impact, suddenly sparked into life when he worked himself into an excellent position in behind the Brentford defence for the first time all night.

Unfortunately though his first touch was a little too heavy and it took him wide enough to make a shot impossible. Instead he managed to quickly pull a ball back across goal that was scrambled away at the far post.

For the second half Palace came out with a changed formation. Young Frenchman, Alessane N'Diaye was brought on in place of Alan Lee and slotted into his position, while Butterfield was brought off and replaced by Hill with Clyne slipping back into his preferred position of right back.

So, for the second half, Palace lined up in a 4-3-3 formation with Derry and Danns anchoring the midfield and Ambrose sitting behind a three-pronged attack of N'Diaye, Victor Moses and Freddie Sears.

But, despite the more aggressive formation, Palace went behind three minutes before the hour mark and this time there was no lucky deflection involved.

Strevens was fed the ball on the edge of the box from the right flank and quickly back heeled it into the path of Myles Weston.

The lanky striker collected it, took a touch along the edge of the box to take himself past the watchful eye of McCarthy before striking a superb left footed strike past Speroni.

It was a goal out of nowhere, but a brilliantly worked one nonetheless.

In response Sears, enjoying the freedom afforded to him in a wide position curled a neat left footed shot that Price saved well before Moses showed for the first time why he is such a coveted talent with some neat trickery and shot by the byline that the goalkeeper could only block.

More changes followed  midway through the half with Nick Carle on for Moses, Jose Fonte on for McCarthy, Johannes Ertl on for Derry and Sean Scannell on for Danns.

Brentford continued to show that they were dangerous when Sam Saunders came close with a superb drive on the left flank that flew right across Speroni and the far post.

While on 71 minutes Scannell slipped in behind the defence and had his shot saved well by Price.

Ultimately though the multitude of changes for Palace had their desired affect as the Eagles restored parity through Jose Fonte.

The Portuguese defender managed to lose his marker inside the box and converted a Nick Carle free kick to the far post on 78 minutes, 

So Palace remain unbeaten in their pre-season campaign as they look towards their next friendly down at Bristol Rovers on Friday 24th July.

www.cpfc.co.uk will be down at the Memorial Ground bringing you all the team news and full match report after the game. See you there.  


Team News

The teams are in here at Griffin Park for Palace's fourth match of their pre-season campaign and there are starts for newboys Freddie Sears and Darren Ambrose.

Both Danny Butterfield and Nathaniel Clyne are in the starting eleven so it is expected that the youngster will drop in at left back and Butterfield will take up his usual right back berth, while regular left full back Clint Hill is on the bench.

Brentford: 1. Lewis Price, 2. Kevin O'Connor, 4. Marcus Bean, 5. Mark Phillips, 7. Sam Saunders, 11. Myles Weston, 14. Danny Foster, 16. Sam Wood, 18. Ben Strevens, 22. Karleigh Osborne, 27. Ryan Blake

Subs: 9. Nathan Elder, 13. David Hunt, 19. Moses Ademola, 21. Billy Lumley 25. Fraser Franks, 26. Marvin Williams, 28. Lewis Ferrell, 32. Leon Legge

Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 4. Shaun Derry (12. Johannes Ertl, 65), 5. Patrick McCarthy (6. Jose Fonte, 65), 7. Darren Ambrose (15. Lee Hills, ), 8. Neil Danns (10. Nick Carle, 65),11. Victor Moses (14. Sean Scannell, 65),16. Freddie Sears 17. Matt Lawrence, 19. Alan Lee (18. Alessane N'Diaye, 45,), 20. Danny Butterfield (3. Clint Hill, 45)

Subs: 13. Darryl Flahavan, ,

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