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Last Updated: Saturday, 23 October, 2004, 15:55 GMT 16:55 UK
Crystal Palace 3-0 West Brom

Andy Johnson
An Andy Johnson double helped lift Crystal Palace off the bottom of the table with a vital win over West Brom.

Johnson and Danny Granville had headers saved by Albion keeper Russell Hoult before Fitz Hall nodded Palace ahead.

Albion's Darren Moore headed over from six yards before Johnson doubled the lead from the spot after he was bundled over by Martin Albrechtsen.

Rob Earnshaw hit the bar from close range for the Baggies, before Johnson's low drive rounded off the win.

Baggies boss Gary Megson had opted to change his side's formation to a 3-5-2 and Palace took full advantage as the visitors struggled to adapt to the new system early on.

Granville come close to opening the scoring for the home side at a rain-drenched Selhurst Park but his downward header from Wayne Routledge's free-kick was straight at Hoult.

Albion's defence failed to heed the warning though and two minutes later Palace took the lead.

West Brom cleared a corner as far as Tony Popovic and the Australian volleyed the ball back to Routledge who drove a first-time cross to the back post where Hall was on hand to guide a header into the bottom right corner.

And seven minutes later, Johnson confidently sent Hoult the wrong way from the penalty spot after he was held back by Albrechtson.

In between, Moore wasted an excellent opportunity to level for West Brom from Earnshaw's right-wing corner but, despite being given the freedom of Selhurst Park, his downward header from six yards bounced agonisingly over the bar.

Albion then reverted to a 4-4-2 when Jonathan Greening replaced Albrechtsen.

The change helped snuff out Palace's dominance, but Albion were restricted to long-range efforts that failed to trouble Palace keeper Gabor Kiraly.

Albion came out strongly after the break and Earnshaw was unlucky to see a snapshot come back off the crossbar after he had eluded the Palace defence and controlled Ricardo Scimeca's cross.

But it was Palace that extended their lead following a fine solo run from Johnson.

He collected the ball from Kolkka in the centre circle and ran unchallenged to the edge of the box before firing a low drive past Hoult's despairing dive and in off the post.

Kiraly produced two excellent stops to deny Earnshaw and held onto a tame Zoltan Gera effort as Albion continued to search for a way back into the game.

But Albion's day was summed up when Earnshaw, who is yet to open his Premiership account, smashed over from 10 yards with only the keeper to beat.


Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Boyce, Hall, Popovic, Granville, Riihilahti, Routledge, Watson (Sorondo 83), Hughes (Lakis 69), Kolkka (Freedman 80), Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Speroni, Torghelle.

Booked: Johnson.

Goals: Hall 5, Johnson 12 pen, 50.

West Brom: Hoult, Moore, Gaardsoe, Albrechtsen (Greening 24), Haas, Johnson, Scimeca, Gera, Robinson, Kanu, Earnshaw.
Subs Not Used: Horsfield, Hulse, Kuszczak, Inamoto.

Booked: Albrechtsen, Moore, Robinson.

Att: 22,922.

Ref: M Messias (S Yorkshire).




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