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Crystal Palace vs Derby County
 1 - 0 
Sat Sep 19 15:00:00 BST 2009
Selhurst Park
Michael Oliver

In a sweet twist of footballing irony, Palace today picked up their first home three points since their 1-0 win against Derby back in April.

A goal from Darren Ambrose in the 55th minute proved the difference in an otherwise indifferent 90 minutes of football at Selhurst Park.

Before the game Neil Warnock stuck with largely the same team that suffered defeat last weekend, making two unenforced changes by giving Johnny Ertl his first start of the season and choosing to play Sean Scannell up front with Lee instead of Victor Moses.

In other team news Paddy McCarthy returned from suspsension and Freddie Sears missed out due to an ankle injury picked up against Scunthorpe.

The first half was a tame affair of few chances.

Derby came closest when, on 19 minutes, Julian Speroni bizarrely picked the ball up outside his area. Most expected to see an immediate red from the referee's pocket, but it was instead yellow and a free kick on the edge of the box.


Gary Teale stepped up to take the free kick and curled a powerful effort to the far post, but the Palace keeper redeemed himself well when he made the necessary save.

He was in action again minutes later when Derby showed for the first time that they can be a real threat.  Former Norwich winger Lee Croft picked the ball up in his own half, played it to Livermore on the right flank who then slipped new loan signing James Vaughan into the box, but Speroni made himself big and deflected it off for a corner.

julian speroni

Palace had their best opportunities in the final 15 minutes of the half. First Johnny Ertl was surprised when the ball fell to him from a corner and richocheted off his knee for a goalkick from five yards and then saw a decent 25 yard drive saved by Bywater, while Neil Danns saw a speculative effort also comfortably saved.

But they had their best chance of the half on 39 minutes when a ball deep into the Derby box was played back across goal by Lee to Ambrose, who managed to turn on a sixpence and get a shot away, but it flew over the bar.

Lee came close himself shortly after when he met another deep cross but Bywater saved well to his right.

The second half was largely like the first - both midfields struggled for dominance while both defences stood resolute and did well in frustrating the forward lines.

Nevertheless Palace came close to the perfect start when Hill had the ball in the back of the net. The full back managed to contort his body to get the slightest of touches past Bywater from a free kick, but the linesman had spotted that he was offside by a matter of inches.

It was unlucky, but things could have been seriously worse as Hill collapsed in a heap and required immediate treatment from Nigel Cox. Luckily he was soon to his feet

But Palace opened the scoring soon after. A ball played into the box was cleared only to the edge of the box and Derry managed to outjump his marker and head the ball back into the danger area. 

The ball fell into the path of Ambrose, who had managed to escape his marker and left him with the simple task of clipping the ball past Bywater.

It could have been two on 70 minutes when a free kick from Butterfield on the right was met by Ertl with a thumping header that crashed against the bar.

Sean Scannell, who had worked admirably upfront all afternoon, also had a superb opportunity when he was released down the right flank.

He used his pace to escape his marker, but his second touch was a little strong and it allowed Miles Addison to make a solid recovery tackle.

Derby came close late on when Rob Hulse aimed a free header at goal that Speroni brilliantly denied with a super save before also denying substitute Kris Commons with probably an even better save.

The forward latched on to a Hulse pass on the edge of the box and curled a decent left footed effort  to Speroni's right, but the Palace keeper magnificently stretched out his right arm and pushed it away to safety.

Palace are next in action on Saturday 26th September when they travel to West Brom. For ticket prices click here and for all travel information click here.

Neil Warnock's post match press conference will be available later on this evening and extended highlights of this game will be available on Palace Player on Monday at 5pm. If you are not already a member of Palace Player you can sign up now for as little as £3.99 a month by clicking here.

Att: 12, 760 (983 Away)

Shaun Derry will make his 500th career appearance today as he starts in the midfield, while there are first starts of the season for Johnny Ertl and Sean Scannell, who come in for Alassane N'Diaye and Freddie Sears respectively.


Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 3. Clint Hill, 4. Shaun Derry, 5. Paddy McCarthy, 6. Jose Fonte, 7. Darren Ambrose, 8. Neil Danns, 14. Sean Scannell (10. Nick Carle, 88) , 19. Alan Lee, 20. Danny Butterfield, 22. Johnny Ertl

Subs: 11. Victor Moses, 12. Darryl Flahavn, 15. Lee Hills, 26. Kieron Cadogan, 29. Ryan Smith, 33. Alassane N'Diaye

Derby: 1. Stephen Bywater, 2. Paul Connolly, 5. Miles Addison (10. Kris Commons, 81),6. Dean Leacock (14. Shaun Barker, 78) 7. Lee Croft, 8. Robbie Savage (Capt.), 9. Rob Hulse, 11. Gary Teale, 21. Dean Moxey, 24. Jake Livermore (16. Stephen Pearson, 67), 31. James Vaughan

Subs: 3. James McEveley, 13. Saul Deeney, 25. Paul Dickov, 26. Lee Hendrie


Darren Ambrose
Second half Ambrose strike gives Palace the points against the Rams.
 Match Information
  Crystal Palace Derby
Goals : 1 0
Possession : 48% 52%
Shots On Target : 6 3
Shots Off Target : 6 4
Corners : 4 6
Fouls : 12 10
Most Fouls : Lee (3) Vaughan (3)
Yellow Cards : 2 1
Red Cards : 0 0
Scorers :
Ambrose 55
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