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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 January, 2005, 16:58 GMT
Man City 3-1 Crystal Palace
Shaun Wright-Phillips put City in front
Shaun-Wright Phillips and Robbie Fowler got the goals as Manchester City secured a hard-earned win over Palace.

Wright-Phillips fired City in front on 12 minutes after being put through by team-mate Joey Barton.

Fowler took advantage of poor defending to make it 2-0, latching onto a long ball and beating Darren Powell.

Powell got Palace back in it when he headed in from Wayne Routledge's free-kick, but Fowler crossed for Wright-Phillips to secure the win.

Both sides were looking to bounce back after going out of the FA Cup to lower league opposition last week.

It was City who started more positively and inside two minutes Antoine Sibierski was given space to shoot, with his curling effort from outside the area just wide of the post.

Wright-Phillips created a wonderful chance for himself when he brilliantly turned his man, but with time to pick his spot he shot the wrong side of the far post.

But two minutes later the England winger put the home side in front from almost exactly the same place.

Barton cut inside and slipped a perfect pass into the path of Wright-Phillips, who ran on and rifled a shot into the bottom corner.

Palace's defence was all over the place and they fell further behind on 15 minutes.

It began from a long pass over the top, Powell allowing Fowler to get away from him and then when he tried to recover he was outfoxed by the striker, who cut inside and then shot past Gabor Kiraly.

City were carving the Palace backline open with ease and Danny Mills and Fowler were both denied by an outstretched and overworked Kiraly.

Palace had a great chance to get back in the game when Johnson beat the offside trap and bore down on goal.

But he took long to shoot and Richard Dunne was able to get back and get enough contact on his effort to deflect it out for a corner.

Palace got themselves back into the game on 32 minutes through Powell.

Johnson earned a free-kick on the left touchline, Routledge swung in a dangerous ball and Powell outjumped Sibierski to head in off the post.

Fowler nearly restored their two-goal advantage when Wright-Phillips squared for him, but his shot hit the hand of Gonzalo Sorondo and looked to be heading for the net before Kiraly acrobatically tipped it over the bar.

Palace improved after their goal, with Johnson firing into the side-netting shortly before half-time and Tom Soares going close after the break with an effort from long-range.

But City always looked the more dangerous side, with Wright-Phillips at the heart of most of their play.

He twice put in inviting crosses that should have led to a third goal and also shot just past the upright.

His half-brother Bradley Wright-Phillips - on as a substitute - could have sealed it when he raced on to a through ball before firing wide of the target.

It ensured some nervy moments for City, but Fowler capped a fine performance by crossing for Shaun Wright-Phillips to sidefoot his second goal in the 90th minute.


Man City: James, Mills, Distin, Dunne, Thatcher, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Barton, Bosvelt, Sibierski (McManaman 45), Fowler (Onuoha 90), Macken (Bradley Wright-Phillips 72).
Subs Not Used: Waterreus, Jordan.

Booked: Dunne, Barton.

Goals: Shaun Wright-Phillips 12, Fowler 15, Shaun Wright-Phillips 90.

Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Boyce, Hall, Powell, Sorondo, Routledge (Shipperley 77), Leigertwood, Watson (Andrews 45), Soares, Lakis (Borrowdale 60), Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Speroni, Butterfield.

Booked: Leigertwood.

Goals: Powell 32.

Att: 44,010.

Ref: A Marriner (W Midlands).




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