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November 24 2020 3.51am

Grimsby Town 5 - 2 Palace

Sat Mar 2 2002 - League

Crystal Palace were comprehensively outplayed and beaten by a well-organised Grimsby 5-2.

The Eagles could not repeat Tuesday's fine win over Barnsley and the goals were scored by Julian Gray and Clinton Morrison. The home side had the better of the opening exchanges and it was no surprise when they took the lead in the 31st minute, with a gret strike.

Andy Todd, on loan from Charlton, hit a 30-yard shot which took a slight deflection and sailed into the top corner giving Matt Clarke no chance.

Grimsby were well in control and put the game beyond reach with two goals right on half-time.

Michael Boulding skillfully opened up the Eagles' defence with a great run and fired past Clarke. Seconds later, more bad defending allowed Bradley Allen to net the third goal.

Tommy Black came on for Jamie Smith for the second half as Trevor Francis tried to change things round as Palace were getting completely outplayed.

Morrison had a tame shot saved but Grimsby were piling on the pressure and Danny Butterfield was looking dangerous. It was his cross which was turned into his own net by Curtis Fleming for Grimsby's fourth goal in the 58th minute.

In the 64th minute, Palace pulled a goal back when Gray scored a delightful free-kick from the edge of the box which flew over the wall into the top right corner - his second goal in a row.

Clarke then tipped Boulding's header over the crossbar and Morrison skied over a shot from the edge of the box.

Dougie Freedman and Morrison combined well for the Irish international to score Palace's second goal of the day with 10 minutes to go. Palace pushed forward, but Grimsby are allowed a fifth goal to pile on the misery.

With just two minutes to go, Butterfield cut in from the left, and with Clarke coming off his line, passed to David Smith to score.

Post match comments:

Trevor Francis said: "This result proves again how inconsistent this league is, only two teams have shown any consistency in this division and they are sitting out in front.

"After Tuesday’s 4-1 win, I did not think it would have been possible to have had a scoreline like this. We knew it was going to be tough because they were determined to climb up the table.

"They already had a good result in midweek, continuing a run of good form, which was once again on show here.

"The game was won by half-time. We defended very poorly when there did not seem to be too much danger on our goal.

"Their first goal took a deflection, Matt would have saved the original shot and then we did not get the break with the second as that went in when Shaun Murphy was off the field receiving treatment.

"In the second half my lads were playing for pride and scored two good goals, Gray’s goal was probably the best of the afternoon, but we had too many poor individual performances.

"We did help them on their way in the second though with the own goal. But Grimsby belied their position and deserved to win."

Grimsby assistant boss Graham Rodger said: "The result comes first but to get a performance like that was very pleasing. All credit to the players, they were magnificent."

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Match Stats

Ground: Blundell Park (Attendance: 5924)

Grimsby Town: Coyne, McDermott, Todd (Ford 89), Groves, David Smith, Butterfield, Burnett, Pouton, Campbell, Allen (Coldicott 86), Boulding (Rowan 89)

Subs not used: Croudson, Jevons.

Booking: Burnett.

Goals: Todd 31, Allen 45, Boulding 45, Fleming 58 (og), David Smith 88.

Palace: Clarke, Fleming (Austin 65), Mullins, Murphy, Granville (Akinbiyi 65), Smith (Black 45), Thomson, Riihilahti, Gray, Freedman, Morrison.

Subs not used: Kolinko, Kirovski.

Bookings: Fleming, Murphy.

Goals: Gray 64, Morrison 80.

Referee: B Knight (Orpington)

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