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Saturday, 10 August, 2002, 16:04 GMT 17:04 UK
Preston 1-2 C Palace

Substitute Steve Kabba fired a dramatic late equaliser as Crystal Palace scored against the run of play to claim an opening-day victory at Preston.

Debutant Ricardo Fuller opening the scoring for Preston after 68 minutes.

Darren Powell - also on his club debut - restored parity for Palace a minute later before Kabba sealed the points.

Eagles goalkeeper Matt Clarke was in brilliant form, repeatedly saving from Fuller and Richard Cresswell to deny the home team.

  Key moments
68 mins: Fuller scores for Preston
69 mins: Powell equalises
86 mins: Kabba scores Palace's winner

Preston attacked with verve and passion in the second-half, despite being reduced to 10-men after 47 minutes when midfielder Eric Skora was sent-off.

But it was Trevor Francis' team who held firm at the back before hitting Preston on the break to ensure that Craig Brown's first game in charge of Preston ended in defeat.

Skora, who joined Preston from French club Nancy, almost scored in the first minute, but Clarke - providing a sign of things to come - brilliantly saved.

Palace looked lively in the early stages and won four corners in the opening 15 minutes as they went in search of the opener.

And striker Dougie Freedman almost found the back of the net with a powerful volley that drifted inches wide.

Preston's Mark Rankine and Graham Alexander then combined to create a shooting opportunity for Cresswell, but he missed the target from close range.

Tony Popovic then missed an equally good chance for the Eagles.

The first-half ended on a sour note when Andrew Johnson - making his Palace debut - was stretchered off after receiving treatment for 10 minutes for a head injury.

Red card

Skora was sent-off two minutes into the second half after receiving a second yellow card for a clumsy challenge on Black.

The game opened up after the dismissal, with the home team showing more urgency and pushing forward as often as possible.

And North End's greater ambition despite their numerical deficiency was soon rewarded with a goal.

Fuller latched onto Cresswell's knock-down after 68 minutes lifted the ball exquisitely over Clarke.

But Palace responded immediately as Powell, who joined from Brentford on Friday, deflected Danny Granville's drive past Moilanen.

North End then created several good opportunities - but could not find a way past Clarke.

And with minutes remaining, Kabba smashed home his team's winner with a thunderous shot from the edge of the area.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Alastair Yeomans
Palace took advantage of Preston's lapses"
Palace boss Trevor Francis
"We spoilt the party"

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