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Crystal Palace vs Coventry City
 0 - 1 
Date: 
Sat Feb 20 15:00:00 GMT 2010
Venue: 
Selhurst Park
Attendance: 
13333
Referee: 
Darren Deadman

Crystal Palace suffered their third league home defeat in a row thanks to a brilliant David Bell strike five minutes from time.

It was a rare moment of quality in a game starved of much entertainment as both sides struggled to find any sort of momentum.

In the first half, which was marginally better than the second, it was Darren Ambrose who again looked the most dangerous player on the field for Palace.

Just as in the Swansea game he managed to get himself into good positions, and he came closest with two strikes that missed by inches and another that was cleared off the line.

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His first came on 22 minutes when Alan Lee won a free kick 30 yards out and he stepped up to take it.

Shaping himself much like he did against Villa he struck it with his laces to get maximum power, but this time it fizzed just over the bar with Kieran Westood stranded.

He then came even closer six minutes later when he picked up a loose ball 20 yards out and hit a low left footed shot goalward. Westwood initially looked to have had it covered, but he ended up making a real hash of it and the ball flicked off his thigh and trickled agonisingly wide of the far post.

As the half entered its final stages he was then denied by a goal line clearance when he was found by Lee, who did very well to turn and play the pass inside the box, but Richard Wood was well placed to clear it away to safety.

Other than that, Sean Scannell looked lively and had he struck his left footed shot cleaner on six minutes he would have forced Westood into a far more complicated save.

It was the same for Nathaniel Clyne moments later when he received the ball from a corner, but he rushed his shot from the edge of the box, got too much on it and curled it over the bar.

As for Coventry they looked dangerous going into the final third for much of the half but only ever looked close to finding the killer touch on a couple of occasions.

Late on half Michael McIndoe was found inside the 18 yard box with Speroni stranded, but he fluffed his lines and shot wide.  

While Stead drew a fantastic save from Speroni at the near post when he fired a well struck volley from 10 yards out.

Otherwise right winger Carl Baker tested Speroni's hands in the opening minutes with a low shot down the ground, while the same man almost managed to trick his way through until Clint Hill pulled off a brilliant last ditch tackle.

On six minutes Aaron Gunnarsson was set up on the edge of the box by Jon Stead but he shot over.

The second half turned out to be one of the least entertaining halves of football seen all season as both sides struggled to find fifth gear, or even third or fourth, and the play  was suffocated by a constant stream of unforced errors.

Nevertheless, out of the very few chances in the half, both had good enough efforts to win the the game.

For Palace it was again Ambrose who was the dangerman.

Five minutes into the restart Carle played him through with a very good ball between the Coventry centre half and right back, but under pressure from both as he closed on goal he scuffed his shot wide.

Ambrose was then instrumental in Palace's next opportunity when he spearheaded a brilliant counter attack. Picking it up inside his own half he played a clever ball with the outside of his boot to Carle on the right wing.

The Australian checked back and played in a lofted ball to the back post where Johnny Ertl had caught up and was free for an unmarked header that Westwood push round the post.

Ambrose was then gifted two very tempting free kick opportunities. His first he smashed over the bar while his second, a little bit closer, he opted to curl but it too ended up flying over.

Coventry on the other hand only managed two chances of any worth, and both they should have scored from, before they took the lead in the 85th minute.

On 70 minutes a ball played in behind Clint Hill found McIndoe and the former Bristol City winger played a low cross to Stead who went to ground and Speroni managed to grab the ball before it found its away to Morrison at the far post

Coventry

Then a flick on from Clinton Morrison ran all the way through the Palace defence and found Gunnarsson who, one on one with Speroni, had only the Eagles keeper to beat but he bizarrely hit a tame shot into his arms.

But Palace were again punished by another break away goal with only five minutes to go. A ball over the top was latched onto by Bell, and seeing Speroni off his line he lofted a delightful chip over his head and into the far corner.

Stay with www.cpfc.co.uk for Neil's press conference which will be available on Palace Player later this evening.

13, 343 (764 Away)


There are three changes from the side that lost to Reading in midweek. Danny Butterfield is given a rest and is replaced by Matt Lawrence, Neil Danns' back injury has forced him out and Sean Scannell is brought in while Alan Lee is preferred to Calvin Andrew.

Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 3. Clint Hill, 4. Shaun Derry, 7. Darren Ambrose, 10. Nick Carle (18. Calvin Andrew, 87), 14. Sean Scannell (21. Kieran Djilali, 68), 17. Matt Lawrence, 19. Alan Lee, 22. Johnny Ertl, 24. Claude Davis

Subs: 15. Lee Hills, 20. Danny Butterfield, 28. James Comley, 33. Alassane N'Diaye, 35. Charlie Mann

Coventry City: 1. Kieran Westwood, 2. Stephen Wright (cpt), 4. Sammy Clingan, 6. James McPake, 9. Jonathan Stead, 11. Clinton Morrison 15. Martin Crainie, 17. Aaron Gunnarsson, 18. Carl Baker,  21. Michael McIndoe (7. David Bell, 72), 24. Richard Wood

Subs: 10. Freddy Eastwood, 12. Gary Deegan, 13. Dimi Konstantopoulos, 19. Freddie Sears, 20. Ben Turner, 34. Jermain Grandison

Coral

Coventry
Late David Bell strike sinks Palace...
 Match Information
 
  Crystal Palace Coventry
Goals : 0 1
Possession : 46% 54%
Shots On Target : 5 5
Shots Off Target : 9 4
Corners : 5 7
Fouls : 15 14
Most Fouls : Lee (5) McPake (4)
Yellow Cards : 0 0
Red Cards : 0 0
 
Scorers :
Bell 85
 
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