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Saturday, 18 November, 2000, 17:35 GMT
Crystal Palace 3-2 Tranmere
Clint Morrison
Morrison scored a late winner for Palace
Crystal Palace continued their climb off the bottom with their third league win on the run at Selhurst Park.

Jason Koumas fired Rovers into an early lead but Steve Staunton levelled for Palace before Clint Hill put Tranmere back in front before half-time.

But after applying relentless pressure after the break, two late goals from skipper Jamie Pollock and Clinton Morrison completed a rousing fightback for the Eagles.

Tranmere started the brighter with Paul Rideout and Koumas missing early chances before going in front after 12 minutes.

Good approach work found Koumas in space 10 yards out and he switched the ball onto his right foot to drive low past goalkeeper Alex Kolinko and into the far corner.

Quick response

But Palace responded quickly and within three minutes were level with an amazing goal from Staunton. Keeper Joe Murphy left his area to clear upfield but managed no further than Staunton on the halfway line and wide on the left touchline.

The Irish defender, on-loan from Liverpool, returned an up-and-under from fully 50 yards over the back-peddling Murphy and under the crossbar for a remarkable equaliser.

But Tranmere were far from disillusioned and restored their lead on 26 minutes, again taking advantage of slack defending from Palace.

The Eagles defence failed to clear Koumas' inswinging free-kick from the left and it left Hill with the simple task of ramming home from five yards out.

Flat out

After the break Palace went flat out and chances were on offer to get back into the game.

At the other end Scott Taylor glanced a header wide but that apart Palace had all the play as they launched attack after attack on the Tranmere goal.

The breakthrough eventually came on 83 minutes with Hayden Mullins heading a half-clearance from Tranmere back into the area and Pollock, onside, and 10 yards out, drove low past Murphy.

The stage was set for a finale and Morrison obliged three minutes from time getting on the end of a flick-on following Simon Rodgers' corner to complete an exciting match and more to come in 10 days time when the two teams meet again in the Worthington Cup.

Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Austin, Zhiyi, Mullins, Rodger, Freedman, C. Morrison, Black, Gray, Pollock, Staunton. Subs: Smith, Thomson, Carlisle, Gregg, Harrison.

Tranmere: Murphy, Yates, Roberts, Allison, Challinor, Hill, Parkinson, S. Taylor, Koumas, Rideout, Flynn. Subs: Achterberg, Gill, Henry, Morgan, Hazell.

Referee: J Brandwood (Lichfield)

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