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 Saturday, 14 December, 2002, 17:47 GMT
Crystal P 2-0 Norwich
Norwich's Paul McVeigh evades Danny Butterfield
Norwich found life hard at Selhurst

Norwich City's travel sickness continued to dent their promotion hopes in a disappointing defeat at Crystal Palace.

First half goals from Dele Adebola and Tommy Black gave Palace a deserved victory as the shot-shy Canaries drew another blank.

Nervous Norwich had lost their last four away matches before Saturday's game and their hapless run seemed set to continue as early as the sixth minute when Palace took the lead.

Adebola drilled the ball home from the edge of the area after being set up by Black's astute pass.

The breakthrough unsettled the visitors who had defender Darren Kenton booked for a foul on Tony Popovic after 10 minutes. The struggling Popovic was eventually replaced by Shaun Derry.

There were signs the visitors were capable of getting back on terms. Gary Holt forced a corner after 20 minutes and Mark Rivers' centre was plucked from under his own bar by Alex Kolinko.

But seven minutes later Palace doubled their lead. Danny Granville - who spent some time on loan at Norwich last season - crossed for Black to head home from close range.

The tough tackling continued and from yet another free-kick Norwich almost reduced the arrears after 37 minutes, Kolinko saving Clint Easton's curling shot.

Kolinko produced an even better save just a minute later, spectacularly turning away another Easton free-kick.

Iwan Roberts remained in the thick of the action as the second half got under way.

The Welsh international enjoyed a duel with Kit Symons in the opening period and there was no sign of that battle diminishing after the break as free-kick followed free-kick.

Sharp reminder

Rivers, recalled to the Norwich side, could have put the visitors back in it after 53 minutes but he weakly hit his shot wide.

Just as Norwich looked to be getting their act together, Palace issued a sharp reminder of their potency when Black forced Robert Green into a flying save.

The visitors swapped strikers Roberts and Paul McVeigh for fellow front men David Nielsen and Zema Abbey after 62 minutes and threw on a third striker, Ian Henderson, eight minutes later in a last-ditch bid to get back into contention.

But Palace, who have now lost just once in their last nine home games, were in no mood to give the visitors even a sniff of a comeback and they comfortably held on.

The home side had Black and Darren Powell booked late on for fouls, and they were joined by Norwich's Craig Fleming.


Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Powell, Popovic, Symons, Granville, Butterfield, Mullins, Riihilahti, Black, Adebola, Johnson. Subs: Derry, Gray, Williams, Borrowdale, Michopoulos.

Norwich: Green, Kenton, Mackay, Fleming, Drury, Rivers, Mulryne, Holt, Easton, Roberts, McVeigh. Subs: Nielsen, Abbey, Russell, Henderson, Lee-Barrett.

Referee: P Armstrong (Berkshire)


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