Crystal Palace 2 Southampton 1

Last updated : 22 April 2006 By Footymad Previewer
Crystal Palace are sure of the play-offs and Southampton mid-table - this looked no more like a simple workout for both sides.

Far from it. Both teams went flat out from the start with George Burley's side the better team in the first half and Palace aced the second.

Southampton will look back on so many missed chances in those first 45 minutes. Hungarian keeper Gabor Kiraly made three or four top-class saves, but really he should not have had a chance with any of them, they were that easy.

Grzegorz Rasiak, Nathan Dyer, Andrew Surman and Ricardo Fuller were the culprits of dreadful finishing. The Eagles missed a few chances themselves as Andy Johnson's shot was saved by Kevin Miller, while Fitz Hall placed his shot wide of an open goal and Tony Popovic had a header cleared off the line. All end-to-end stuff.

After the break Dyer missed again from close range but gradually Palace gained control.

On 60 minutes Dougie Freedman broke clear and as he rounded keeper Miller, the veteran keeper knocked him over. Amazingly referee said no penalty and the Palace fans were enraged. But within three minutes the Eagles were in front.

Johnson on the left side played the ball across to Freedman whose shot on goal was blocked. But the ball rebounded nicely to Johnson who struck low past Miller for his 17th goal of the season.

The Eagles' lead lasted just six minutes as Southampton finally found the net. Darren Potter's free-kick from the left dropped perfectly to Fuller who was totally unmarked and glanced his header wide of Kiraly and into the corner.

But on 81 minutes substitute Clinton Morrison restored Palace's lead.

Popovic on the halfway line edged his way forward, before threading the ball into the path of Morrison who steered the ball past Miller and into the corner to finish off an extremely exciting end of season encounter.