Canaries steal the points

Last updated : 31 March 2002 By Palace Dan

The goalscoring gods deserted Palace at Carrow Road today as Norwich picked up all three points to improve their play off chances. Palace battered Norwich and played them off the park, but were unable to find the killer touch in front of goal. Palace could have been four up in the first 15 minutes, but a combination of good saves by Robert Green and some desperate defending denied the visitors. Norwich only threatened the Palace goal when Gary Holt thundered in a shot that whistled past Matt Clarke's right hand post. Indeed, such was the Palace dominance that Clarke did not touch the ball in open play until 17 minutes had past. Palace's inability to put away their host of chances came back to haunt them as Norwich scored 3 minutes from the break with their first effort on goal, when David Nielsen beat Clarke from 12 yards. Within two minutes they had double the lead, when Paul McVeigh headed home following a right wing cross after Aki Riihilahti had given the ball away in midfield. In the second period Palace continued to dominate and when Clinton Morrison cleverly lobbed Green after 50 minutes it looked as if Palace would go on and win the game. Trevor Francis replaced the ineffective Ade Akinbiyi with Jovan Kirovski allowing Dougie Freedman to revert to his more natural role as Morrison's partner. With Julian Gray and Tommy Black also introduced by Francis, Palace finally had the width that their play warranted and they continued to push forward and pen Norwich back. Norwich only had one chance in the second period when Malkay McKay headed over from a corner. The relief was evident among the Norwich supporters and players at the final whistle. They knew that they had got out of jail. While Palace's play off hopes have now disappeared, they can be heartened by performances like this. If Trevor Francis would only be more adventurous (maybe Fleming and Granville replaced by Black and Gray) then Palace would win an awful lot more games.