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Pre-Season: Bristol Rovers 0-3 Crystal Palace

Posted on: Thu 30 Jul 2009

Crystal Palace continued their unbeaten run in pre-season with a 3- 0 win at the Memorial Ground against a spirited Bristol Rovers side. A first half strike from Freddie Sears, a second half penalty converted by Neil Danns and late strike by Alessane N'Diaye ensured the win.

Palace sported some noticeable changes from the side that drew 2-2 with Brentford on Tuesday night, most notably the complete absence of Darren Ambrose from the side with Nick Carle drafted in to replace him.

There were also starts for Jose Fonte and Clint Hill at the back with Nathaniel Clyne starting in his preferred right back position.

And it was Palace that had the first effort of the evening when, on six minutes, Freddie Sears showed his shooting instinct with a turn and snap shot from 20 yards that Steve Phillips, in the Bristol goal, saved comfortably.


Darryl Duffy had Rovers first and, as it transpired, closest effort of the half with what could have been the goal of the season before the season has actually started.

Spotting Speroni off his line the striker picked up the ball just inside his own half before aiming a long drive at the Palace goal.

On 15 minutes Patrick McCarthy found himself with the ball at his feet six yards from goal following a Palace corner, but the delivery surprised him and the ball rebounded off his foot and rolled into the arms of Phillips.

Palace confidence was growing as the half wore on and on 19 minutes their best passage of play almost led to the opener.

Clyne carried the ball up the right flank before taking on two defenders beating the first one and then continuing on into the box

He then pulled it back to an unmarked Carle  on the edge of the 18 yard box who then disguised a pass as a shot and played it to Sears.

The striker's first touch though was a little too heavy allowing a defender to nip in and clear it just as he was about to pull the trigger.

But the young Palace striker made no mistake with his next chance.

The young forward expertly pulled down a long Clint Hill cross field pass inside the Rovers penalty area before neatly flicking over the oncoming challenge and firing past Steve Phillips with his left foot.

Palace could have extended their lead in the 38th minute when a superb ball from Nick Carle picked out Jose Fonte, who had stayed high in the Rovers box.

But the Portuguese defender's touch was too heavy and his eventual shot from ten yards out was closed quickly by the keeper and deflected off for a corner.

Neil Warnock did not make any changes for the second half, choosing instead to wait for 15 minutes and replace Victor Moses with trialist Stefan Cox.

An extremely pacey winger, Cox operated in a strict left flank position which contrasted the freer role Moses adopted while on the field. Nevertheless he looked a competent addition to the squad.

As for the action, the half continued as the first left off - Bristol looking lively without really causing Speroni or his defence any problems and Palace looking to catch the League One side on the break at every opportunity.

It was a tactic that almost extended the lead for Palace in the early stages of the second period and again it was that man Sears who created it.

Racing on to a Clyne clearance he got to the ball before an onrushing Danny Coyle, nipped the ball past him and carried on down the right flank.

With Alan Lee the only player in support he played a delightful ball across the area for his strike partner to attack. But with a marker all over him he had to improvise with a flicked effort that looped over Phillips and skimmed the top of the bar.

Sears then came close to adding to his earlier goal when he managed to make some shooting space for himself on the right hand side of the Rovers' box  before flashing a shot across Phillips' goal.

Palace came close again moments later when McCarthy had a header cleared off the line by Byron Anthony, while Rover's best chance of the half came from another near spectacular effort when Rickie Lambert turned and shot from 30 yards with a dipping drive that dropped just over the bar.

The lead was doubled in the 85th minute when another Palace counter attack ended in Lee being brought down by former Palace player Jeff Hughes. The referee was well positioned and instantly pointed to the spot before Neil Danns stepped up and side footed the ball under Phillips.

The result though was sealed late on when N'Diaye slid in at the back post to convert a cross from the left flank and hand Palace their third win of the pre-season campaign.

 Attendance: 2174 (Away: 166)


The Palace line-up was issued to us without numbers so, for the moment, the substitutes appear without their squad numbers but will be updated when they are introduced to the game.

As for the teams, Darren Ambrose has not travelled to the Memorial Ground and so Nick Carle takes his place in midfield.

On the bench there are places for youngsters James Comley, Kieron Cadogan and Alessane N'Diaye, while two trialists also appear in the form of Marry Lloyd, a goalkeeper, and Stefan Cox.

Apologies for the lateness in the teams - M25 traffic for you!

Bristol: 1. Steve Phillips, 2. Carl Regan, 6. Steve Elliott, 5, Danny Coles, 32. Aaron Lescott, 14. David Pipe, 7. Stuart Campbell, 4. Chris Lines, 10. Darryl Duffy, 17. Jo Kuffour, 9. Rickie Lambert

Subs: 13. Mike Green, 11. Jeff Hughes, 15. Byron Anthony, 20. Charlie Reece, 23. Ben Swallow, 18. Ben Hunt, 8. Andy Williams

Palace: 1.Julian Speroni, 10. Nick Carle, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 8. Neil Danns, 4. Shaun Derry (Johnny Ertl), 6. Jose Fonte, 3. Clint Hill (Lee Hills), 19. Alan Lee (Alessane N'Diaye), 5. Patrick McCarthy, 11. Victor Moses (18. Stefan Cox, ), 16. Freddie Sears (14. Sean Scannell)

Subs: Marry Lloyd, Kieron Cadogan, James Comley, Matt Lawrence, Nathaniel Pinney, ,

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