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BBC Sport's Simon Hill:
"The holders surrender their grip on the cup."
 real 14k

banner Wednesday, 1 November, 2000, 22:12 GMT
Leicester 0-3 Crystal Palace
Palace's  Clinton Morrison
Morrison set Palace on their way to the next round
England caretaker boss Peter Taylor found himself tactically outwitted by Palace boss Alan Smith as holders Leicester crashed out of the Worthington Cup.

Leicester were defeated at the first time of asking with goals from Clinton Morrison, Steve Thomson and Andrejs Rubins settling this third round match.

The defeat was the first major setback of his Leicester career for coach Taylor, who will take charge of the National side against Italy next month.

The 12,000 fans showed their displeasure at Leicester's performance by roundly jeering the team at the end of the match.

Palace had come into the game on the back of six defeats and a draw in the First Division, which leaves them struggling near the bottom.

Smith condemned their unprofessional attitude recently, accusing some of his players of being unprofessional.

They showed their strength of character on Saturday by taking a point at Bolton and followed that up with a barnstorming display tonight.

Taylor decided to rest skipper Matt Elliott and key duo Muzzy Izzet and Robbie Savage were also on the bench.

With keeper Tim Flowers suffering from a hamstring injury, Simon Royce made his first start of the season between the posts.

He had a night to forget with Palace opening the scoring in the 17th minute when Craig Harrison headed a corner from Wayne Carlisle across the face of the goal and Morrison made no mistake from close range.


Leicester retaliated and Richard Cresswell and Frank Sinclair both came close to levelling the score.

However Smith decided to flood the midfield and it was a tactic that worked with Palace adding a second in the 24th minute.

It was a spectacular strike as well with Thompson spinning away from Callum Davidson to rifle a superb 35-yard shot beyond Royce.

Leicester had loud appeals for a penalty turned away in the 41st minute when Cresswell's shot appeared to be handled by Jamie Smith.

They came out to the sound of the Great Escape at the start of the second half - but still couldn't find their rhythm.

Palace sewed things up in the 52nd minute when Rubins picked the ball up in the first half, raced forward and unleashed a 30 yard thunderbolt.

Leicester were stunned and pushed men forward with Elliott and Izzet being called into the action.

Trevor Benjamin saw a shot cleared off the line by Craig Harrison but Leicester just couldn't make the breakthrough.

Taylor announces his England squad next week but it is obvious on tonight's evidence that he has plenty of domestic worries to concern himself with before then.

Leicester: Royce, Sinclair, Davidson, Rowett, Gilchrist, Lennon, McKinlay, Eadie, Gunnlaugsson, Cresswell, Guppy. Subs: Price, Elliott, Izzet, R. Savage, Benjamin.

Crystal Palace: Kolinko, Smith, Austin, Mullins, Rodger, C. Morrison, Black, Thomson, Rubins, Carlisle, Harrison. Subs: Frampton, Gray, Evans, Gregg, Forssell.

Referee: R Pearson

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26 Sep 00 |  SOL
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