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Crystal Palace vs Sheffield Utd
 1 - 0 
Sat Mar 06 15:00:00 GMT 2010
Selhurst Park
Andy Penn

Paul Hart's reign as Crystal Palace manager began with a win thanks to Alan Lee's close range strike on 23 minutes.

In a game of few chances it was Palace who created the better, and although looking a little nervy from time to time, they controlled much of the match with a flowing passing game.

On 11 minutes a neat exchance between Lee and Nick Carle led to the Australia international with a shooting chance from 25 yards out, but on his right foot he allowed the covering defender to get a block in and deflect it harmlessly into Mark Bunn's hands.


Moments later Danny Butterfield was found on the edge of the box as a Palace corner was cleared, but unlike his cultured finishing in the FA Cup a few weeks back, he smashed this one high and wide.

But he made ammends on 22 minutes when his pinpoint cross from the right flank beat the first man and dropped to Lee, who managed to get infront of his marker and poke it past Bunn from six yards.

The goal seemed to settle the Palace nerves and they could have extended their lead four minutes later when Carle fed Calvin Andrew with a nice through ball, but as he went to pull the trigger he hadn't set himself properly and, on his left foot, he smashed it high and wide.

Sheffield threatened late on with a couple of dangerous crosses, their first was inches away from Cresswell's outstretched leg four yards out, but they failed to really create any further chances of note.

The second half played out much the same as the first with Palace showing the greater attacking edge and chances proving a rarity.

Ambrose may look back at his chance early on in the half when he was played through by a clever Derry header because he had much more time than he thought and could have taken a touch instead of striking the ball first time from 15 yards into Bunn's arms.

And the same could be said for Lee, who had the best opportunity of the half to extend Palace's lead on 57 minutes.

Some brilliant work on right flank from Carle afforded himself some space for a dangerous cross right across the six yard box. It was missed by Johnny Ertl, but found Lee at the back post.

The Palace striker seemed surprised that it travelled all the way through to him, and as such he rushed his shot over the bar.

Calvin Andrew

Carle appeared to be really enjoying his football, and some more good work on the right drew a foul from Montgomery right underneath the linesman's nose.

Ambrose floated it in and it was met by Andrew at full stretch, but he jumped marginally too early and couldn't keep his header down.

Kevin Blackwell threw on three attack-minded players in the form of Ched Evans, Henri Camara and James Harper, but it was Palace who continued to look a threat going forward.

On 82 minutes some very good close-quarter passing led to a foul 25 yards out and Ambrose smashed a dipping effort that was well picked up by Bunn.

The best Sheffield United could muster, despite some pressure towards the end, was a screwed Camara effort from 20 yards that flew harmlessly wide of Speroni's post and two late Evans efforts.

His first was a volley that he smashed into Camara in stoppage time, and his second was a dipping volley that thankfully bounced past the post.

But Palace held on against some late United pressure, and some suspect refereeing decisions, to give Paul Hart his first win as Crystal Palace manager.

Att: 13, 455 (Away: 701)

Stay with for the post match reaction with Paul Hart's first press conference available later this evening.

If you are not yet a Palace Player subscriber why not try out our 14 day free trial by clicking here and hear what Paul has to say in full before anyone else.

There were two changes from last weekend's draw at the Keepmoat as Kieran Djilali and Matt Lawrence were dropped to the bench and were replaced by Calvin Andrew and Johnny Ertl, while Neil Danns did not recover from his back injury in time.

Crystal Palace: 1. Julian Speroni, 2. Nathaniel Clyne, 3. Clint Hill, 4. Shaun Derry (cpt), 7. Darren Ambrose, 10. Nick Carle (14. Sean Scannell, 90), 18. Calvin Andrew (33. Alassane N'Diaye, 86), 19. Alan Lee, 20. Danny Butterfield, 22. Johnny Ertl, 24. Claude Davis

Subs: 9. Stern John, 15. Lee Hills, 17. Matt Lawrence, 21. Kieran Djilali, 35. Charlie Mann

Sheffield United: 23. Mark Bunn, 4. Nick Montgomery, 5. Chris Morgan (cpt), 6. Nyron Nosworthy, 11. Mark Yeates (9. Ched Evans, 78), 12. Lee Williamson (15. James Harper, 70), 17. Richard Cresswell, 18. Jamie Ward, 21. Kyle Bartley, 28. Stephen Quinn (37. Henri Camara, 58), 32. Toni Kallio

Subs:, 13. Ian Bennett, 16. Andy Taylor, 19. Jordan Stewart, 20. Marcel Seip

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Alan Lee's first half strike earns the first win of Paul Hart's reign...
 Match Information
  Crystal Palace Sheff Utd
Goals : 1 0
Possession : 54% 46%
Shots On Target : 6 1
Shots Off Target : 5 2
Corners : 1 1
Fouls : 13 19
Most Fouls : Carle (3) Cresswell (4)
Yellow Cards : 2 2
Red Cards : 0 0
Scorers :
Lee 23
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