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October 22 2020 8.13am

Norwich City 2 - 1 Palace

Sat Mar 30 2002 - League

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Crystal Palace's lingering play-off hopes were all but over with a 2-1 defeat away to promotion rivals Norwich City.

Two Norwich goals in four minutes before half-time from David Nielsen and Paul McVeigh put the Canaries in the driving seat.

Clinton Morrison got a goal back early in the second half in front of Norwich's biggest crowd of the season - 21,251.

Palace started the game well and had a number of chances. Granville had a powerful shot well saved by the legs of Norwich keeper Green.

In the fourth minute, Ade Akinbiyi had a powerful header from Aki Riihilahti's cross blocked by Norwich defender Malky Mackay. A minute later, Kenton blocked a goal-bound shot from Dougie Freedman

Steve Thomson then had a low range effort deflected for a corner and after 22 minutes saw a long range shot go just wide.

It wasn't until the the 28th minute that Nowich had their first real effort on goal when Phil Mulryne saw his 18-yard shot go wide of Matt Clarke's goal. Gary Holt also went close for the home side with a 25-yard drive.

But Norwich were beginning to come back into the game and scored four minutes before half-time. Mulryne surged forward and his pass from the right was found by Nielsen who chipped Clarke.

Paul McVeigh got the second three minutes later, with a close-range header from Steen Nedergaard's cross. Norwich went in a at half-time undeservedly two goals up.

Palace came out for the second period all fired up and managed to get a goal back through Morrison in the 50th minute. Morrison managed to get onto a loose ball from Mackay's poor back header from Riihalahti's right wing cross and and lob Green in goal from the edge of the box.

The Eagles frantically searched for an equaliser. Riihilathi had a dipping 18-yard volley wide in the 57th minute and Green was on hand to save a shot from sub Julian Gray in the 75th minute.

Riihilahti had a shot bounce on the top of the crossbar, but Norwich held firm and got the three points which keeps their own play-off hopes very much alive.

Post match comments:

Trevor Francis said: "All we can do is try and play as well in our last four games as we did today and then I'm sure we will get more than our fair share of points.

"As a manager that's all I can ask. I thought it was a good game of football today with my team playing a full part and I was very disappointed to come away with nothing.

"We made a very positive start but unfortunately we didn't take our chances and they came back at us just before half-time.

"It was disappointing to concede two goals like that but we came out with a positive attitude after half-time and had the ball for long periods.

"Unfortunately, the second goal just wouldn't come but I've got no complaints about the players. I'm just disappointed with the result now, not the performance."

Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington said: "The three points was the all-important thing today.

"The performance could have been a little better but I was delighted with the application of my players, especially after they pulled one back.

"There was some magnificent defending out there and at the end of the day we picked up three crucial points.

"Now there is everything to play for in the final four games and for the club to be in this position now from where they were 15 months ago is a wonderful achievement - and that's down to the players."

Norwich City (A) Photos From The Terrace Photos

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Match Stats

Ground: Carrow Road (Attendance: 21251)

Norwich City: Green, Kenton, Fleming, Mackay, Drury, Nedergaard, Holt, Mulryne, Easton (Notman 85), McVeigh (Sutch 89), Nielsen (Rivers 81).

Subs not used: Crichton, Russell.

Goals: Nielsen 42, McVeigh 45.

Booked: Kenton.

Palace: Clarke, Fleming, Austin, Murphy (Black 69), Granville (Gray 57), Mullins, Riihilahti, Thomson, Freedman, Morrison, Akinbiyi (Kirovski 57).

Subs not used: Carasso, Rodger.

Goal: Morrison 50.

Booked: Austin, Granville, Mullins, Riihilahti.

Referee: D Pugh (Wirral)

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