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Match Report: Crystal Palace 0-3 Nottingham Forest (Palace Fan's Perspective)

Monday 2nd April 2012
A stunning hat-trick from Radoslaw Majewski moved Nottingham Forest six points clear of the drop zone, as they extended their unbeaten run to four games in the Championship.

For Palace fans, it was always going to be a season of stability and consolidation, having fought against relegation for the two previous seasons.

With relegation now mathematically impossible, and promotion a dream which can wait another year, mid-table obscurity looms for Dougie Freedman's side. So it was the perfect opportunity to begin planning for next season, go all out attack and try some new tactics. Or so we hoped.

Palace lined up with the same defence-minded formation as had been seen for much of the campaign. Two holding midfielders and a frustrated lone man up front in Glenn Murray meant opportunities at goal would be sparse, with their only first half effort of note thrashed wide by Owen Garvan.

Lining up to defend is always going to invite pressure from the opposition, and a makeshift defence following injuries to two senior centre halves meant Palace were always likely to be vulnerable at the back.

Just eight minutes of the second half had been played when Polish international Majewski decided to turn on the style. Receiving a ball from Gareth McCleary to the left, Majewski weaved his way past the usually reliable Nathaniel Clyne before firing an effort high into Julian Speroni's goal.

Twenty minutes later he had his second, with McCleary again the provider. An unchallenged run from the centre allowed the winger to find Majewski, who turned and curled the ball into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

Despite bringing on Jonathan Williams and Chris Martin in an attempt to salvage a comeback, Dougie Freedman's side seemed powerless to Forest's controlled play, and Majewski completed his treble eight minutes from the end. Chris Gunter was allowed to run beyond full back Jonathan Parr, and his cut back to Majewski inside the area was unopposed. The midfielder had the time to turn, and fire the ball across Speroni to claim his first career hat-trick.

The previous Saturday Palace found themselves 3-0 down to Forest's arch rivals Derby County, and two late goals in that game managed to soften the blow. They almost replicated that in this game, but for some harsh luck. Wilfried Zaha was played into the box and his low cross-shot was turned in by Jermaine Easter, however the assistant referee adjudged him to be in an offside position. Moments later Zaha again played Easter in, only for his poked effort to come back off of Lee Camp's right hand post.

Palace fans got the impression that it just wasn't their day, as apart from three goals of genuine quality the match was considerably even. However, until Freedman decides to play a more optimistic formation and have a real go at teams, fans will continue to be frustrated - which was exemplified by the poor crowd of less than 15,000, boosted by the significant away support.

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy, Moxey, Parr; Wright (Williams), Dikgacoi, Garvan, Zaha, Scannell (Martin); Murray (Easter)

Nottingham Forest: Camp; Gunter, Chambers, Lynch, Cunningham; Reid (Elokobi), Moussi, Guedioura, Majewski, McCleary (Wotton); Blackstock (Tudgay)
Harry Howes

Total articles: 8

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