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Last Updated: Saturday, 28 February, 2004, 17:25 GMT
Crystal P 1-0 Gillingham
Danny Butterfield got the winner as 10-man Palace overcame Gillingham for a sixth win in seven games.

Palace had Mark Hudson sent-off for a foul on Mamady Sidibe to gift the visitors a penalty but they failed to take advantage.

Nicky Southall saw his first penalty palmed onto the woodwork by keeper Cedric Berthelin and hit the crossbar with his re-taken spot-kick.

Butterfield compounded Gillingham's misery when he lashed home his goal.

Hirschfield, on loan from Tottenham, continually thwarted the Eagles but could do little about the goal.

The first clear-cut chance came after 13 minutes to Palace striker Andrew Johnson but his shot was parried to safety by Hirschfeld.

Neil Shipperley had a shot blocked by Barry Ashby after 27 minutes, and Hirschfeld had to be lively again to prevent Julian Gray from opening the scoring with a header.

Cedric Berthelin also had to be alert in the home goal to keep out a fierce 25-yard Rod Wallace strike.

Hirschfeld denied Johnson straight after the break before the turning point in the match.

Hudson was adjudged to have committed a professional foul on Sidibe and was sent off.

Southall twice missed and Butterfield scored soon afterwards when Gillingham only half-cleared.

Crystal Palace: Berthelin, Butterfield, Popovic, Hudson, Granville, Routledge, Hughes, Derry, Gray, Johnson, Shipperley. Subs: Freedman, Black, Borrowdale, Leigertwood, Soares.

Gillingham: Hirschfeld, James, Ashby, Leon Johnson, Rose, Hessenthaler, Smith, Southall, Wallace, Sidibe, Agyemang. Subs: Crofts, Jarvis, Spiller, Pouton, Beckwith.

Referee: P Prosser (Gloucestershire).

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