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October 21 2020 1.36pm

Walsall 3 - 4 Palace

Tue Oct 29 2002 - League

Crystal Palace produced a magnificent performance to come back from two goals down in the first five minutes to win 4-3 at Walsall with Andy Johnson scoring his second hat-trick on the spin.

The Eagles got off to a dreadful start and went two goals down in the first five minutes due to some appalling defending.

Match Stats

Ground: Bescot Stadium (Attendance: 6368)

Walsall: Walker, Bazeley, Hay, Roper, Aranalde, Wrack, O'Connor (Sonner 45), Simpson, Junior (Herivelto 76), Leitao, Corica.

Subs Not Used: Ward, Zdrilic, Barras.

Booked: Simpson.

Goals: Corica 2, Junior 5, Junior 53

Palace: Kolinko, Butterfield, Popovic, Powell (Riihilahti 59), Granville, Johnson, Mullins, Derry, Gray, Freedman (Antwi 86), Adebola (Black 77).

Subs Not Used: Michopoulos, Rubins.

Booked: Adebola, Popovic, Mullins, Riihilahti

Goals: Johnson 29, Freedman 58, Johnson 64, Johnson 90

Referee: M Cowburn (Lancashire)

An unmarked Steve Corica opened the scoring for Walsall in the second minute as he struck from six yards out.

Then just two minutes later, poor defending allowed a cross from the right where Junior side-footed home from close range making it 2-0.

Alex Kolinko had a superb game, making two saves from the lively Junior in the opening 10 minutes.

Opposite number James Walker was then called into action, saving a Dougie Freedman volley on 12.

In the 23rd minute, Kolinko made a point-blank save from Junior to keep the score at 2-0 still. Then five minutes later, he produced a superb stop to keep out Junior's rocket volley.

But Palace struck back straight away as Andy Johnson surged into the box from the left hand side and drilled a left-foot shot into the back of the net in the 29th minute.

Five minutes into the second half, Kolinko was called into action again, saving a Corica 20-yard strike.

But the Saddlers scored again thanks to a 30-yard goal from Brazilian Junior in the 52nd minute to make it 3-1.

Only five minutes afterwards, Walker paried a save out to Freedman who stabbed home the ball home. Then on 64, Johnson levelled the scores as he headed Julian Gray's corner into the back of the net.

He completed his hat-trick, and his seventh goal in three games, in the last minute calmly slotting past Walker from Tommy Black's pass to cap off an outstanding comeback for Palace.

Post match comments:

Trevor Francis said: "Walsall should have been out of sight by half time. I said to my players 'Walsall will be absolutely distraught being only one goal to the good'.

"I turned to my coach after 15 minutes and told him we had a mountain to climb as we looked all over the place.


But you have to give credit to my lads for the way they kept battling. Even at 3-3 we still kept looking for the winner and it was good to see Andy Johnson get another three goals
Trevor Francis

"Probably, apart from the two players I have mentioned [Johnson and Kolinko], I don't think we deserved to win. We have had some good fortune and come out as winners.

"Our goalkeeper and centre forward were the big difference. They were outstanding.

"Winning gives you a nice feeling and we are scoring goals as well. We are scoring from all over the pitch and have had 10 different scorers this season.

"This means we are not dependent on the strikers, though they had a big say in the outcome of this match.

"But you have to give credit to my lads for the way they kept battling. Even at 3-3 we still kept looking for the winner and it was good to see Andy Johnson get another three goals."


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