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Match Report: Derby County 3-2 Crystal Palace (Palace Fan's Perspective)

Wednesday 28th March 2012
An away trip to Derby coincided with the annual ‘Palace On Tour Day' – a day where as many supporters as possible are encouraged to attend a random and inconsequential away game, in order to create a vibrant atmosphere and advertise their support through the use of balloons, scarves and other forms of colourful exhibition.

As such, similar to last year's effort at Coventry, the mass organisation and anticipation could only end in one way – a Crystal Palace defeat.

Derby went into this game having won their previous two home games and got off to a perfect start when Steven Davies took advantage of confusion in the Palace defence to poke home following a deflected cross after just six minutes.

The Eagles lost this fixture 5-0 last season and with half an hour played things didn't look to have improved, as Jeff Hendrick doubled the home side's advantage. A cross driven into the box was punched by Speroni into the path of the young midfielder, who fired in first time to give The Rams a two goal cushion to take into half-time.

Things got from bad to worse for Palace as Mile Jedinak and Sean Scannell were forced off injured. Then, with just four minutes of the second half played, Derby were awarded a penalty as a cross from Gareth Roberts was met by Anthony Gardner's raised hand. Theo Robinson stepped up to fire home his 11th goal of the season.

A near miracle was required for Dougie Freedman's side to give the 1,500 travelling fans something to smile about, and their inspired efforts turned out to be in vain. A back pass which was picked up by Derby keeper Frank Fielding led to an indirect free-kick, and quick thinking from Glenn Murray allowed Chris Martin to stroke the ball home and reduce the deficit to two goals with 12 minutes remaining.

Murray was involved in Palace's second goal as he teed the ball up for Darren Ambrose, who expertly bent the ball beyond the reach of the despairing Fielding. Four minutes of injury time seemed enough to complete the comeback, but despite the away side's pressure Derby held on to record their fourth win in six games.

Palace's ten game unbeaten run had finally come to an end and faint dreams of a play-off place were effectively ended. With relegation nearly certainly avoided, Dougie Freedman can afford to free the reigns a little and begin to attack teams, in preparation for next season. Derby on the other hand look an outside bet for the top six and on this performance and their recent results, who's to say they can't achieve it.

Derby: Fielding; Roberts, Shackell, Buxton, Naylor; Bryson, B Davies, Hendrick, Green; S Davies (Ball), Robinson (Tyson)

Palace: Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr (Appiah), Ambrose, Dikgacoi, Jedinak (Moxey), Scannell (Williams), Martin, Murray
Harry Howes

Total articles: 8

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