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January 18 2020 12.10am

Crewe Alexandra 1 - 1 Palace

Saturday December 16 2000 - League

Ten-man Crystal Palace secured a point against Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road today.

It was substitute Dougie Freedman who scored a late equaliser. Neil Ruddock was sent off in the 1st half for dissent. With this draw Palace extended their unbeaten run to eleven games.

The first chance of the game was for Eagles defender Fan Zhiyi, but he saw his effort being headed off the line by Kenny Lunt.

On 25 minutes, Crewe got a penalty when Hayden Mullins tripped Colin Little in the box. Alex Kolinko however, proved to be a good penalty stopper by saving Shaun Smith's spot kick.

In the 41st minute, Crewe took the lead through Colin Little, who headed in a clever free kick by Lunt.

Just before the half time whistle, Ruddock got sent off by referee Mike Dean after the Palace skipper showed dissent.

The Eagles started well after the break, playing three at the back rather than replace the dismissed Ruddock with another defender.

Dean Austin could have pulled level, but his effort was cleared off the line. Minutes later, Crewe could have sealed the game but Kolinko saved a David Wright shot.

It was in the 80th minute when substitute Dougie Freedman scored the equaliser for the South Londoners for a share of the spoils.

Post match comments

The unhappy Alan Smith refused to defend Ruddock after his sending-off. The former Liverpool man was sent off for swearing at the referee just before the break.

Smith was delighted with his side's performance though.

Smith said: "I'm not happy with the sending-off of Neil at all because you can't go around swearing at refs.

"I'm as ferocious as anyone and nobody wants to win more than me, but abuse to refs is something we have to stamp out in this country.

"It was a spirited and professional performance in the second half and that's every credit to the players."

Crewe boss Dario Gradi slammed defender Efe Sodje for the defensive blunder which cost his side the three points.

He said: "I just can't believe what Efe was thinking. The sponsors made him Man of the Match but people don't see things as I do.

"He is costing us game after game. He plays ever so well for 80 minutes then he goes and spoils it all by doing something stupid.

"This should have been the easiest three points we have picked up all season but in the end I was happy with a point. To say I am sick is an understatement."

Crewe Alexandra (A) Photos From The Terrace Photos

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Match Stats

Ground: Gresty Road (Attendance: 5752)

Crewe Alexandra: Kearton, Wright, Foster, Sodje, Macauley (Shaun Smith 2), Lunt, Sorvel, Little, Cramb, Hulse (Peter Smith 82), Rivers.

Subs not used: Bankole, Collins, Tait.

Booked: Little, Rivers.

Goals: Little 41.

Palace: Kolinko, Smith, Austin, Zhiyi, Ruddock, Mullins, Clinton Morrison, Black, Forssell (Freedman 57), Pollock, Harrison (Rodger 58).

Subs not used: Thomson, Carlisle, Kabba.

Booked: -
Sent-off: Ruddock (45)

Goals: Freedman 80.

Referee: M Dean (The Wirral)

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