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Page last updated at 14:04 GMT, Sunday, 2 May 2010 15:04 UK

Sheff Wed   2 - 2   Crystal Palace

By Paul Fletcher
BBC Sport at Hillsborough

Alan Lee
Crystal Palace celebrate Alan Lee's first-half opener

Crystal Palace ensured their Championship survival but condemned opponents Sheffield Wednesday to League One football next season after an afternoon of incredible passion and tension ended in a draw at a sold-out Hillsborough.

The game finished with Wednesday besieging the Palace goal, but the visiting team held on to clinch the point they needed to seal their survival.

Alan Lee had put Palace in front with a thunderous header but Leon Clarke equalised close to the break with a superb strike, although the Eagles felt he should have been penalised for a foul on Danny Butterfield in the build-up.

Wednesday dominated after the interval but Ambrose struck with a composed 16-yard finish before Darren Purse stabbed home at the far post late on to ensure a grandstand finish.

Palace's celebrations are tinged with uncertainty as the south London club are in administration and facing serious questions about their survival.

Ambrose and Hart savour Palace survival

The Eagles have no funds to remain operating beyond the end of the season and face the prospect of selling off their players to generate income, while the short-term contract of manager Paul Hart has expired.

Hope rests with the CPFC 2010 consortium, which has expressed an interest in buying the club.

Wednesday chairman Lee Strafford has made it clear that relegation is not a financial disaster for his club, but it is certainly a major frustration for the Owls, who looked likely to avoid the drop after an upturn in results followed the appointment of Alan Irvine in January.

But Wednesday had won only one of their previous 11 league games going into Sunday's encounter and, despite refusing to throw in the towel after twice falling behind, they will play third-tier football next term after a largely disappointing season.

Palace should perhaps have taken the lead in the fourth minute when skipper Shaun Derry laid the ball invitingly into the path of an unmarked Calvin Andrew, but the striker's initial shot was parried by Lee Grant and his follow-up effort was blocked.

It was an early warning of the threat that the Eagles possessed and Grant was in action again midway through the half to palm clear a well-struck free-kick from Ambrose.

But there was nothing the Owls keeper could do to prevent Lee from putting the visiting side in front with a powerful header from six yards when the striker rose unchallenged to meet Ambrose's corner after 24 minutes.

During an enthralling and competitive opening half, the heavily involved Grant had been kicked in the head by a very high foot from Andrew as the striker stretched to reach a looping ball, while James O'Connor sustained a cut above his eye as he competed for a loose ball.

FOOTBALL BLOG
Paul Fletcher

But until Clarke's equaliser shortly before the interval there was little sign that Wednesday's endeavours would lead to a goal for the home side.

Jermaine Johnson was a lively presence on the right flank and forced a decent save from the excellent Julian Speroni, who also held a weak Mark Beevers header and a poor Luke Varney strike.

Wednesday had failed in a penalty appeal after Clarke went down under a challenge from Patrick McCarthy but they were perhaps fortunate that referee Mike Dean allowed play to continue in the build-up to the Owls equaliser.

Clarke tussled with Butterfield wide on the left as they competed for the ball, with the Palace defender going to ground.

But Dean saw no infringement, and Clarke raced into the box before brilliantly curling his right-foot strike beyond the despairing dive of Speroni.

The goalscorer's joy was short-lived, as he sustained a dislocated toe kicking the advertising hoardings in celebration and had to be stretchered from the field in just about the last significant action of an opening half that ended with Dean followed off the field by several frustrated Palace players.

The Owls went on the offensive after the restart, with Butterfield making an excellent header to cut out a cross from O'Connor. Marcus Tudgay had a shot blocked from the subsequent corner as Palace struggled to clear their lines.

Darren Potter became the second Wednesday midfielder to sustain a cut after an aerial challenge with Derry and Wednesday, who had O'Connor off the field when Palace scored, were again temporarily down to 10 men.

It did not damage their growing momentum and it took another scrambled clearance to prevent the home team from taking the lead while Johnson, who tangled with Ambrose as the tension started to show, went close with a hooked volley.

Irvine 'sad' for Owls fans after relegation

Speroni then denied Varney with an excellent save after the Wednesday forward shrugged off two Palace defenders before shooting from across goal.

But the crucial third goal went to Palace, with Sean Scannell superbly picking out a completely unmarked Ambrose 16 yards from goal.

Ambrose opted to shoot first time and his precise side-footed effort eluded Grant's despairing dive and sparked huge celebrations in the away end.

The goal was tough on the home team, who would have levelled almost instantly but for a superb block by McCarthy, who smothered a shot from Owls substitute - and former Palace player - Tom Soares.

Substitute Francis Jeffers failed to connect with a cross but Purse did convert a flick-on after 87 minutes to ensure a gripping finish.

Stern John should have put Palace ahead for a third time after a two-versus-one break but his strike hit the inside of the post and was cleared off the line.

There were five minutes of injury-time but the Eagles closed out the game and the final whistle saw a pitch invasion.

Live text and stats

 

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Npower Championship

Home Team Score Away Team Time
Sheff Wed 2-2 Crystal Palace FT
(HT 1-1)Sheff Wed are relegated
  • Clarke 43
  • Purse 87
  • Lee 24
  • Ambrose 63

Sheff Wed

  • 01 Grant
  • 02 Spurr
  • 04 Purse
  • 15 Beevers
  • 32 Nolan (Jeffers 75)
  • 14 Potter
  • 17 O'Connor (Esajas 67)
  • 23 Johnson yellow card
  • 07 Tudgay
  • 18 Clarke (Soares 45+4)
  • 19 Varney

Substitutes

  • 22 O'Donnell,
  • 03 Buxton,
  • 05 Hinds,
  • 33 Gray,
  • 11 Esajas,
  • 30 Soares,
  • 09 Jeffers

Crystal Palace

  • 01 Speroni
  • 03 Hill
  • 05 McCarthy
  • 17 Lawrence
  • 20 Butterfield
  • 22 Ertl yellow card
  • 04 Derry
  • 07 Ambrose
  • 14 Scannell (Davis 90)
  • 18 Andrew yellow card (N'Diaye 61)
  • 19 Lee (John 84)

Substitutes

  • 35 Manns,
  • 02 Clyne,
  • 24 Davis,
  • 10 Carle,
  • 21 Djilali,
  • 33 N'Diaye,
  • 09 John
Ref: DeanAtt: 37,121
SHEFF WED
CRYSTAL PALACE

Possession

  • Sheff Wed 56%
  • Crystal Palace 44%

Attempts on target

  • Sheff Wed 9
  • Crystal Palace 6

Attempts off target

  • Sheff Wed 4
  • Crystal Palace 0

Corners

  • Sheff Wed 6
  • Crystal Palace 2

Fouls

  • Sheff Wed 15
  • Crystal Palace 13
  • Final Result
  • Full Time
  • 90:00+6:02 The final whistle goes and the game is over.
  • 90:00+4:48 Stern John is caught offside. Lee Grant takes the free kick.
  • 90:00+3:50 Stern John takes a shot. Save by Lee Grant.
  • 90:00+3:08 Centre by Tommy Spurr.
  • 90:00+2:59 Tommy Spurr delivers the ball, clearance made by Patrick McCarthy.
  • 90:00+1:56 Marcus Tudgay is caught offside. Julian Speroni restarts play with the free kick.
  • 90:00+1:02 Etienne Esajas takes a shot. Blocked by Danny Butterfield.
  • 90:00+0:17 Unfair challenge on Tommy Spurr by Stern John results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Darren Potter.
  • 89:16 Corner taken by Darren Potter.
  • 89:16 Substitution Sean Scannell goes off and Claude Davis comes on.
  • 87:39 Tommy Spurr sends in a cross.
  • 86:46 The assist for the goal came from Mark Beevers.
  • 86:46 GOAL - Darren PurseSheff Wed 2 - 2 Crystal Palace Goal scored by Darren Purse from close in to the bottom right corner of the goal. Sheff Wed 2-2 Crystal Palace.
  • 86:25 A cross is delivered by Tommy Spurr, Danny Butterfield gets a block in.
  • 85:34 The ball is crossed by Tom Soares, save by Julian Speroni.
  • 84:47 Tommy Spurr delivers the ball.
  • 83:24 Substitution Stern John joins the action as a substitute, replacing Alan Lee.
  • 80:44 Etienne Esajas sends in a cross, save by Julian Speroni.
  • 80:32 Jermaine Johnson produces a cross.
  • 80:23 Etienne Esajas sends in a cross.
  • 76:28 The ball is delivered by Alan Lee.
  • 74:19 Substitution Francis Jeffers joins the action as a substitute, replacing Eddie Nolan.
  • 72:15 Mark Beevers challenges Alan Lee unfairly and gives away a free kick. Danny Butterfield takes the direct free kick.
  • 72:08 Centre by Etienne Esajas, Danny Butterfield gets a block in.
  • 70:28 The ball is sent over by Etienne Esajas, Jermaine Johnson produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
  • 68:58 Foul by Tom Soares on Danny Butterfield, free kick awarded. Patrick McCarthy restarts play with the free kick.
  • 67:41 Sean Scannell sends in a cross, Lee Grant makes a save.
  • 66:49 Tommy Spurr fouled by Johannes Ertl, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Beevers restarts play with the free kick.
  • 66:03 Substitution Etienne Esajas is brought on as a substitute for James O'Connor.
  • 65:43 James O'Connor has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
  • 63:13 The ball is delivered by Tommy Spurr.
  • 63:09 The ball is sent over by Luke Varney, Matthew Lawrence manages to make a clearance.
  • 62:18 Assist by Sean Scannell.
  • 62:18 GOAL - Darren AmbroseSheff Wed 1 - 2 Crystal Palace Darren Ambrose scores a goal from the edge of the penalty box to the bottom right corner of the goal. Sheff Wed 1-2 Crystal Palace.
  • 62:14 The ball is crossed by Sean Scannell,
  • 60:43 Substitution Calvin Andrew goes off and Alassane N'Diaye comes on.
  • 59:48 Luke Varney is adjudged to have handled the ball. Direct free kick taken by Julian Speroni.
  • 58:51 Jermaine Johnson delivers the ball, clearance made by Matthew Lawrence.
  • 58:40 Luke Varney takes a shot. Save by Julian Speroni.
  • 58:01 Direct free kick taken by Julian Speroni.
  • 58:01 Booking The referee cautions Jermaine Johnson for unsporting behaviour.
  • 57:41 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Shaun Derry by Jermaine Johnson.
  • 56:59 The ball is swung over by Tommy Spurr, clearance made by Alan Lee.
  • 56:41 The ball is swung over by Tom Soares, Patrick McCarthy manages to make a clearance.
  • 56:25 The ball is swung over by Tommy Spurr, Darren Ambrose manages to make a clearance.
  • 55:34 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Tommy Spurr by Sean Scannell. Lee Grant takes the free kick.
  • 53:40 Unfair challenge on Shaun Derry by Jermaine Johnson results in a free kick. Clint Hill takes the direct free kick.
  • 52:36 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Jermaine Johnson by Clint Hill. Tommy Spurr delivers the ball from the free kick left-footed from right wing.
  • 51:42 Shot from just outside the box by Tommy Spurr misses to the right of the goal.
  • 50:33 Foul by Darren Purse on Alan Lee, free kick awarded. Patrick McCarthy restarts play with the free kick.
  • 49:30 Unfair challenge on Darren Purse by Alan Lee results in a free kick. Lee Grant takes the direct free kick.
  • 49:14 The ball is swung over by Darren Ambrose.
  • 48:24 Patrick McCarthy fouled by Luke Varney, the ref awards a free kick. Julian Speroni restarts play with the free kick.
  • 47:49 Unfair challenge on Darren Purse by Alan Lee results in a free kick. Lee Grant takes the direct free kick.
  • 47:09 James O'Connor concedes a free kick for a foul on Sean Scannell. Direct free kick taken by Julian Speroni.
  • 46:30 Corner taken by Darren Potter.
  • 46:24 The ball is delivered by Tommy Spurr, Alan Lee makes a clearance.
  • 45:36 Unfair challenge on Darren Potter by Alan Lee results in a free kick. Lee Grant restarts play with the free kick.
  • 45:01 The referee gets the second half underway.
  • Half Time
  • 45:00+6:09 The first half comes to an end.
  • 45:00+5:37 A cross is delivered by Danny Butterfield, save by Lee Grant.
  • 45:00+3:09 Corner from the left by-line taken by Darren Potter, save by Julian Speroni.
  • 45:00+3:09 Substitution Leon Clarke goes off and Tom Soares comes on.
  • 45:00+0:34 Eddie Nolan crosses the ball, Danny Butterfield makes a clearance.
  • 44:15 Corner taken right-footed by Darren Ambrose, Marcus Tudgay manages to make a clearance.
  • 42:49 GOAL - Leon ClarkeSheff Wed 1 - 1 Crystal Palace A goal is scored by Leon Clarke from deep inside the penalty area to the top right corner of the goal. Sheff Wed 1-1 Crystal Palace.
  • 41:24 Shot from just outside the area by Eddie Nolan goes over the bar.
  • 41:02 Alan Lee is caught offside. Free kick taken by Darren Purse.
  • 39:45 The ball is swung over by Sean Scannell, Eddie Nolan makes a clearance.
  • 38:01 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Calvin Andrew by Darren Potter. Matthew Lawrence restarts play with the free kick.
  • 37:28 Shaun Derry concedes a free kick for a foul on Tommy Spurr. Lee Grant restarts play with the free kick.
  • 36:25 Matthew Lawrence fouled by Luke Varney, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Julian Speroni.
  • 35:12 Eddie Nolan crosses the ball.
  • 32:55 Mark Beevers takes the free kick.
  • 32:55 Booking Johannes Ertl booked.
  • 32:38 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on James O'Connor by Johannes Ertl.
  • 32:23 A cross is delivered by Johannes Ertl, clearance by Mark Beevers.
  • 31:54 Mark Beevers takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save.
  • 31:48 The ball is delivered by Luke Varney, clearance made by Alan Lee.
  • 31:06 Jermaine Johnson takes a shot. Blocked by Shaun Derry. Corner taken left-footed by Tommy Spurr from the right by-line to the near post, clearance made by Shaun Derry.
  • 30:03 Foul by Leon Clarke on Shaun Derry, free kick awarded. Clint Hill takes the free kick.
  • 29:00 Jermaine Johnson sends in a cross, Matthew Lawrence makes a clearance.
  • 28:09 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Darren Potter, save by Julian Speroni.
  • 28:01 The ball is crossed by Eddie Nolan, Patrick McCarthy makes a clearance.
  • 27:47 Luke Varney produces a cross, Clint Hill manages to make a clearance.
  • 25:24 Tommy Spurr sends in a cross, Darren Ambrose manages to make a clearance.
  • 23:31 Darren Ambrose provided the assist for the goal.
  • 23:31 GOAL - Alan LeeSheff Wed 0 - 1 Crystal Palace Alan Lee finds the back of the net with a headed goal from inside the six-yard box. Sheff Wed 0-1 Crystal Palace.
  • 23:20 Outswinging corner taken by Darren Ambrose,
  • 21:56 Free kick awarded for a foul by Patrick McCarthy on Leon Clarke. Mark Beevers takes the direct free kick.
  • Correction - 20:22 Free kick awarded for a foul by Mark Beevers on Sean Scannell. Shot on goal comes in from Darren Ambrose from the free kick, Lee Grant makes a save.
  • 20:22 Mark Beevers concedes a free kick for a foul on Sean Scannell. Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Darren Ambrose, save made by Lee Grant.
  • 19:10 Tommy Spurr takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save.
  • 18:59 The ball is delivered by Tommy Spurr, Matthew Lawrence manages to make a clearance.
  • 18:40 Danny Butterfield concedes a free kick for a foul on Luke Varney. Darren Potter restarts play with the free kick.
  • 17:12 Darren Potter gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Alan Lee. Strike on goal comes in from Darren Ambrose from the free kick, Luke Varney gets a block in.
  • 16:33 Free kick awarded for a foul by Marcus Tudgay on Patrick McCarthy. Free kick taken by Julian Speroni.
  • 15:24 Luke Varney takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save.
  • 14:47 Darren Ambrose is ruled offside. Lee Grant takes the indirect free kick.
  • 13:48 Free kick taken by Lee Grant.
  • 13:48 Booking Calvin Andrew booked for unsporting behaviour.
  • 13:02 Calvin Andrew concedes a free kick for a foul on Lee Grant.
  • 12:09 Unfair challenge on Shaun Derry by Darren Potter results in a free kick. Julian Speroni takes the free kick.
  • 7:39 Jermaine Johnson takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save.
  • 6:28 Free kick awarded for a foul by Tommy Spurr on Alan Lee. Julian Speroni restarts play with the free kick.
  • 4:50 James O'Connor fouled by Shaun Derry, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by Darren Potter.
  • 4:21 The ball is swung over by Darren Ambrose, save made by Lee Grant.
  • 3:04 The ball is sent over by Tommy Spurr, Matthew Lawrence makes a clearance.
  • 2:05 Calvin Andrew takes a shot. Lee Grant makes a save.
  • 0:55 The referee blows for offside against Marcus Tudgay. Indirect free kick taken by Julian Speroni.
  • 0:17 Corner taken left-footed by Tommy Spurr from the right by-line, clearance by Matthew Lawrence.
  • 0:00 The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

Live text and data provided by The Press Association.



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Championship table snapshot

As it stood on 2 May 2010 23:59 UK

Position Team P GD PTS
1 Newcastle 46 55 102
2 West Brom 46 41 91
3 Nottm Forest 46 25 79
4 Cardiff 46 19 76
5 Leicester 46 16 76
6 Blackpool 46 16 70
7 Swansea 46 3 69
8 Sheff Utd 46 7 65
9 Reading 46 5 63
10 Bristol City 46 -9 63
11 Middlesbrough 46 8 62
12 Doncaster 46 1 60
13 QPR 46 -7 57
14 Derby 46 -10 56
15 Ipswich 46 -11 56
16 Watford 46 -7 54
17 Preston 46 -15 54
18 Barnsley 46 -16 54
19 Coventry 46 -17 54
20 Scunthorpe 46 -22 52
21 Crystal Palace 46 -3 49
22 Sheff Wed 46 -20 47
23 Plymouth 46 -25 41
24 Peterborough 46 -34 34


see also
Hart emotional as Palace survive
02 May 10 |  Championship



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