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Last Updated: Saturday, 13 March, 2004, 17:33 GMT
Nottm Forest 3-2 Crystal Palace
Nottingham Forest survived a determined Crystal Palace fightback to earn a vital win in their relegation battle.

Gareth Williams bagged a brace for Forest and opened the scoring when he drilled in a shot.

Andy Reid ran onto a Nick Barmby pass to add Forest's second before Neil Shipperley pulled one back for Palace.

But a Williams shot restored the home side's two-goal lead and they held on for the win despite a nervous finish after Danny Granville's goal.

A late substitute appearance from striker David Johnson also came as a welcome boost for the City Ground side.

Forest made an ideal start to the match when Williams, who had only scored once this season before facing Palace, scored after four minutes.

Marlon King was starting a three-match suspension for Forest which meant Nick Barmby and Gareth Taylor being paired up front.

The duo combined to set up Reid with Taylor finding Barmby with an aerial flick and the on-loan Leeds player evading three defenders before caressing an inviting pass into the path of Reid, who finished emphatically.

Palace began the second period showing the same urgency with which Forest had started the first and Shipperley scored for the visitors against his former side.

Danny Granville advanced down the left flank before finding Shipperley with an accurate cross which the striker finished with ease.

At the other end, Reid saw a lob come back off the crossbar before Williams added Forest's third as he stroked in a shot from the edge of the area.

Granville scored with a header to ensure a tense finish but Forest held on for three vital points.

Nottm Forest: Roche, Louis-Jean, Morgan, Dawson, Rogers, Sonner, Williams, Jess, Reid, Taylor, Barmby. Subs: Walker, Formann, Thompson, Westcarr, Johnson.

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

Referee: I Williamson (Berkshire).

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