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November 24 2020 3.42am

Palace 2 - 0 Rotherham United

Sat Jan 19 2002 - League

Palace did the double over Rotherham, this time winning 2-0 with goals from Clinton Morrison and Jamie Smith.

The football wasn't the best as both teams struggled to pass on the Selhurst Park bog and Rotherham defended in numbers, making it a tedious first half.

Alex Kolinko produced two world class saves to deny Alan Lee twice, first from a bullet header from eight yards and then from a Lee 25-yard effort.

Down the other end, Mike Pollitt was on hand to save a far post Dougie Freedman header from a Danny Granville cross.

Palace were lacking width and in the second half, Trevor Francis brought Smith and Julian Gray on for Simon Rodger and Jovan Kirovski.

The move seemed to work as Hayden Mullins released Morrison who fired low past Pollitt in goal in the 55th minute.

Pollitt then saved from Morrison from close range after good work from Freedman and Mullins.

Then Smith got the goal which proved to be the winner 11 minutes from time when he drove home from the right hand side into the far corner from a Granville cross on the left.

Man of the Match: Mullins

Post match comments:

Eaglesí boss Trevor Francis was beaming with joy after his sideís third win in a week as Palace defeated Rotherham 2-0 at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Clinton Morrison broke the deadlock in the second half with his 17th goal of the season and Jamie Smith added a second 11 minutes from the end.

Smith came on for the second half along with Julian Gray to add more width and Francisís tactical move evedently paid off.

Francis said: "Itís been a good week for us. It was a tough first half as youíd expect against a team like Rotherham. I think that the problem was we couldnít get enough of the ball to our front players because their back four were sitting in.

"The more I looked at it I thought I have to do something so we changed to a 4-4-2 formation to try and pull the full backs out a bit and create a bit more space for Freedman and Morrison. I think that was the key really."

Midfielder Hayden Mullins had a good game and had a hand in both of the goals.

He said: "He made Morrisonís goal and he almost made a second for Clinton with a very clever pass. The two of them are very good players and link up well together.

"Iíve been very impressed with his performances since Iíve been here and heís in the side on merit at the moment."

It was a lacklustre match played on a boggy pitch as Rotherham were content to sit back and defend in numbers.

Francis added: "I thought our players were very disciplined and did what they were told to do and it was very pleasing to keep another clean sheet, which makes it two this week.

"As a team we are becoming difficult to beat and we are competing physically with the Gillinghams and Rotherhams.

"We have taken nine points from nine and you canít ask for anything more than that and weíve moved back into the play-off zone.

"Players like Popovic, Mullins and Freedman returning to full fitness as well as the arrival of Granville, Symons and Fleming has allowed me to really utilise the bench, which is something Iíve done in the past three matches. In the early days when I came here, we did not have that option."

Francis revealed on loan striker Trevor Benjamin will be going back to Leicester City. He scored one goal in six games.

Francis said: "Trevor is returning to Leicester because Dave Bassett phoned me up requesting that he goes back. Brian Deane pulled a calf muscle in training yesterday and they need Trevor in the squad."

Ronnie Moore said: "A poor game from start to finish. It was windy and the pitch was awful but we kept them back and I though we looked the better team.

"Once we were a goal down we looked tired. We need to be more organised because that was not the same side that played against Southampton. We were so naive it's untrue.

"Pollitt made some great saves but we just couldn't handle Morrison. Overall it was a disappointing game."

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Match Stats

Ground: Selhurst Park (Attendance: 17311)

Palace: Kolinko, Fleming, Symons, Granville, Popovic, Mullins, Rodger (Gray 45), Riihilahti, Kirovski (Smith 45), Freedman (Benjamin 89), Morrison.

Subs not used: Hopkin, Clarke.

Bookings: Popovic, Smith, Symons.

Goals: Morrison 55, Smith 79.

Rotherham United: Pollitt, Scott, Swailes, McIntosh, Watson, Lee (Monkhouse 68), Talbot, Hurst, Mullin, Warne, Richard Barker.

Subs not used: Robins, Daws, Gray, Branston.

Booking: McIntosh.

Referee: M Cooper (Walsall)

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