Crystal Palace 4 Wolves 2

Last updated : 14 September 2002 By Footymad Previewer

Wayne Routledge gave Trevor Francis' Eagles a flying start with his first league goal after just 60 seconds before Ivar Ingimarsson levelled on 31 minutes.

But Dougie Freedman struck twice on 35 minutes and 61 and although Nathan Blake pulled one back for Wolves, Steve Thomson restored Palace's two-goal cushion to wrap up the points.

Francis was delighted with Routledge who is supposed to join the England Under-19 squad for the friendly in Hungary, but Francis is to ask for the youngster to be released from the squad so that he can play for Palace against Derby on Tuesday.

Francis said: "We are missing a lot of players who are in the treatment room and we need Wayne for next Tuesday.

"He's a great potential with natural talent and he scored a wonderful goal, but games come thick and fast and we must be careful not to push him too hard."

It was Routledge's first start in the league and with almost his first touch lashed the ball into the roof of the net from 12 yards after Danny Butterfield's deep cross evaded the entire Wolves defence.

Ingimarsson levelled on 31 minutes after Shaun Newton's cross from the right but Freedman headed Palace back into the lead four minutes later with Butterfield again the provider with an inch-perfect cross.

Michael Oakes caught Andy Johnson after leaving his goal to meet a suicidal backpass from Lee Naylor and Freedman coolly converted the penalty to make it 3-1 for Palace, but then Alex Kolinko spilled Paul Ince's snapshot allowing Blake to follow up to give Wolves hope.

But Thomson prevented any Palace jitters occurring when he volleyed home Hayden Mullins' cross just a minute later to ensure a Palace home win.

Francis said: "We scored goals at vital moments to shut the door on Wolves and we were the better side today, but Wolves will still be challenging for promotion come the end of the season."

Wolves boss Dave Jones said: "Selhurst Park is normally a good hunting ground for us, but I'll be glad to see the back of it this season.

"Palace didn't give us a chance to settle and we kept giving goals away after we ourselves seemed to have got back into it."