Charlton Athletic 2 Crystal Palace 2

Last updated : 15 May 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Charlton Athletic's Jonathan Fortune headed home eight minutes from time to secure a 2-2 draw and send Crystal Palace spiralling to relegation.

On a day which began with four sides assembled on a trapdoor set to drop three of them out of the Premiership, the end of season nerves were always going to be stretched to their limit.

Add a local derby into the equation, and years of dislike between the two sets of fans, and Charlton and Palace were never likely to enjoy the most relaxed of afternoons.

As the minutes ticked away, the chants and cheers of the respective sets of fans heralded goals being scored at grounds miles away, each causing differing degrees of damage to Palace's chances of staying to compete in the top-flight for another year.

The pressure took its toll on a game that while tense and interesting, was desperately lacking in quality. Not that Palace cared, with Norwich falling further behind with each bulletin from Craven Cottage, a win would keep them safe.

After a patchy opening half an hour, the unlikely figure of Bryan Hughes, who up to then had endured a miserably unsuccessful afternoon, seemed to have rendered all further information unnecessary, as he sent Charlton ahead and left Palace with a mountain to climb.

Typically however, given the way their season has gone, Charlton were unable to hang on to the lead for long.

Palace emerged for the second half by far the more positive of the two side, and it came as little surprise when Dougie Freedman, two minutes after coming on, took advantage of a defensive slip to level matters.

Palace were a goal away from safety, and when Fortune handled Freedman's cross, referee Mark Clattenberg had no hesitation in pointing to the spot and allowing Andy Johnson to slide home the penalty which offered them salvation.

Their relief lasted just 12 short minutes. A needlessly conceded free-kick, wide on the left flank saw Jerome Thomas swing over a cross and Fortune rise to head home an equaliser which condemned Palace to an immediate return to the Championship.

Their safe footing in the top-flight, won with Johnson's penalty, had lasted just 12 minutes.