Crystal Palace 2 Oldham 0

Last updated : 03 December 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Oldham had the first chance of the match, David Eyres shot from the edge of the box after ten minutes. However within a minute Palace had the early lead they craved. Danny Granville crossed from the left and Tommy Black scored with a looping header from 12 yards.

Black was to run the visitors ragged all night with a performance his manager Trevor Francis described as: “quite outstanding.”

He nearly added a second four minutes later, Aki Riihilahti first time cross from the right was met by Black on the volley but well saved by keeper Leslie Pogliacomi.

Shortly after, the unfortunate Clint Hill had to be replaced after breaking his leg after an innocuous challenge in the penalty area. Oldham manager Iain Dowie switched to a 4-4-2 system to give his side more attacking options. Palace continued to impress throughout a one sided first-half.

Hayden Mullins 25-yard drive was tipped over and Gareth Williams, making his first start for Palace, had his shot from the right well saved after more prompting by Black.

It looked an easy night for the Eagles until Granville's controversial dismissal in first-half injury time. Referee Chris Foy seemed happy with the challenge only for his assistant to bring his view into proceedings, presumably that it was dangerous.

Palace re-shuffled for the second half with Gary Borrowdale replacing Gareth Williams, to maintain Palace's defensive shape.

Oldham failed to make their numerical advantage count whilst Black continued to run the game. He twice set up chances midway through the second half for Dele Adebola and Danny Butterfield but neither was converted.

Eventually he did the job himself. To cap a fine performance, he exchanged passes with Adebola and fired in from 15 yards on the right of the box.

Black again prompted the final fine move in the last minute only for Mullins to volley over.

Trevor Francis felt his team was: “Brilliant to watch in the first half, they defended superbly in the second and the evidence of that was that Oldham did not have a shot on target. They played with great energy.”

Iain Dowie had no complaints saying: “It was a bad day at the office, we did not perform to our ability, there was no invention, no rotation, no interplay. We were beaten by a better side.”