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October 22 2020 6.52am

Palace 4 - 1 Stockport County

Sat Aug 18 2001 - League

Crystal Palace moved joint top in the Nationwide Division One table with a convincing 4-1 victory over Stockport County at Selhurst Park.

Clinton Morrison grabbed two of the goals, obviously still on a high after from scoring on his debut for the Republic of Ireland in their 2-2 draw with Croatia a three days earlier.

He said: "I've never had a better week in my career. I was still buzzing after scoring for Ireland.

"I'm definitely 100 per cent Irish now. I got on really well with Robbie Keane, Ian Harte and Gary Kelly they are all top men over there and it was a very good craic."

After a dour first-half, the second burst into life with five goals. Aki Riihilahti drove the ball home seven minutes after the break to put Palace ahead.

Stockport levelled ten minutes later when Karim Fradin scored with a rocket-like header from 10 yards.

But five minutes after that, Palace restored their lead when Morrison converted a Dougie Freedman pass.

Not long after Stockport's Aaron Wilbraham got his marching orders after appearing to elbow Eagles' midfielder Rihilahti, and Palace put the game out of reach for County through Freedman and again Morrison, for the fourth, to complete the rout.

Man of the match: Freedman.

Chant of the match: "Are you watching Alan Smith?"

Post match comments:

A delighted Palace boss Steve Bruce said after the game: "Clinton can go on to do what he wants to in the games, he is that good.

"He just has to keep his feet on the floor and continue to want to work hard and his game will continue to improve.

"At the time of the sending-off we were playing the better football and I didn't think Stockport going down to 10 men would have made any difference.

"It was a poor first half as there was a nervousness and edginess about my team. I know we can improve and I want to give everybody a chance before bringing in new players."

Stockport boss Andy Kilner was not happy with the referee's decisions.

He said: "Up until the referee intervened with the sending-off we were the better side. I think 4-1 flattered them and Crystal Palace didn't create anything in the first half while we looked likely to score.

"I didn't see the sending-off incident but it is difficult to run back and tackle. The lad was attempting to cut the pass out and collided with the Palace player. Up till then he did not commit a foul."

He added: "Ten against 11 is very difficult but no-one lost their heads. We were the better side before the sending off but Palace were the better side after the sending off. I wish Palace success but I wished they wouldn't bring their own referee with them!"

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Match Stats

Ground: Selhurst Park (Attendance: 15760)

Palace: Kolinko, Smith, Austin (Berhalter 70), Fan, Mullins, Rodger, Riihilahti, Gray, Freedman (Rubins 89), Morrison (Black 89), Thomson.

Subs not used: Carlisle, Gregg.

Bookings: Berhalter, Rodger.

Goals: Riihilahti 52, Morrison 58, 89, Freedman 85.

Stockport County: Jones, Flynn, Roget, Woodthorpe, Gibb, Clare, Van Blerk (Clark, 80), Helin (Taylor, 60), Fradin, Kuqi, Wilbraham.

Subs not used: Dibble, Smith, Hurst.

Bookings: Flynn, Kuqi. Sent off: Wilbraham 77.

Goal: Fradin 62.

Referee: R Harris (Oxford)

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