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Page last updated at 18:21 GMT, Sunday, 2 May 2010 19:21 UK

Paul Hart emotional after Palace draw relegates Owls

Sheff Wed 2-2 Crystal Palace

Sheff Wed 2-2 Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace boss Paul Hart said he was emotionally drained after leading his side to Championship safety with a tense draw against Sheffield Wednesday.

Hart was recruited by Palace in early March with a brief to avert relegation after the club had been deducted 10 points for going into administration.

A 2-2 final-day draw achieved that aim but led to Wednesday being relegated.

"I often listen to people say they were left emotionally drained and I know what they mean now," said Hart.

The afternoon provided an appropriately nail-biting conclusion to what has been a turbulent season for Hart, who was relieved of his duties at Portsmouth before leaving subsequent employers QPR after only five games.

Ambrose and Hart savour Palace survival

Palace went ahead twice, first when Alan Lee gave them an early lead and then when Darren Ambrose pounced after Alan Irvine's Wednesday side had equalised through Leon Clarke.

But four minutes from time, Darren Purse scored another leveller for the hosts to set up a tense finale, adding further to an already angst-ridden afternoon for Hart, who as a player spent two years at Wednesday in the 1980s.

"It's been a very emotional day," conceded Hart. "Great relief on our part but there's sadness on their part because Alan Irvine's a friend, I played here as well and I've been relegated. It's not very nice.

"We're hoping the new ownership gets completed and now Palace can build from a sounder base of Championship football, which I think is important.

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"It's such a great club that I would fully expect, with the correct business practices put in place, that the right visionary people, if handled properly, could make great progress.

"I've said all along, let's get the takeover done then the new owners can make a decision on the next manager.

"It would be absolutely no hardship whatsoever to work at this football club, it's been a fantastic experience, but they should be allowed to make their own appointments."

For Wednesday, who were watched by a capacity 37,121 crowd, the result signals an unwelcome return to League One for the second time in five years.

Their cause was not helped by the withdrawal of Clarke, who was carried off on a stretcher shortly after curling home Wednesday's first equaliser when he dislocated a toe while celebrating.

Irvine said: "He kicked an advertising hoarding. He apologised and said it was a stupid thing to do and I agreed with him."

Irvine 'sad' for Owls fans after relegation

Assessing Wednesday's plight, Irvine acknowledged that an inability to convert chances had dogged his side throughout the season and that the club's future was impossible to predict.

"We've missed a lot of chances in a lot of games," added Irvine. "Again today we've had more than enough chances to win the game.

"It's not a big squad and within that we've got three players on loan, who will go back to their parent clubs, and we've got eight players out of contract.

"A lot of decisions have to be made and there will be changes, there is no doubt."



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see also
Sheff Wed 2-2 Crystal Palace
02 May 10 |  Championship
Fans held after relegation match
04 May 10 |  South Yorkshire
Hart confirmed as Palace manager
02 Mar 10 |  Crystal Palace


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