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October 27 2020 9.39am

Palace 2 - 0 Preston North End

Sat Dec 28 2002 - League

Palace moved into play-off contention after a Tommy Black brace helped them dispose of Preston 2-0.

His goals in either half helped stretch the Eagles' undefeated run to five matches.

Match Stats

Ground: Selhurst Park (Attendance: 18484)

Palace: Kolinko, Powell (Riihilahti, 45), Popovic, Symons, Granville, Butterfield, Derry, Mullins, Gray, Black (Akinbiyi, 72), Adebola (Routledge, 72)

Subs not used: Michopoulos, Borrowdale

Bookings: Granville , Kolinko

Goals: Black 38, Black 55

Preston North End: Lucas, Lucketti, Murdock, Broomes, Alexander, Skora (Lewis, 62), Etuhu (Abbott, 78), McKenna, Mears, Cresswell, Healy (Anderson, 87)

Subs not used: Rankine, Moilanen

Bookings: Alexander, McKenna, Murdock

Referee: A R Hall (Birmingham)

Right from the off, Palace showed they were full of confidence as they surged forward for a number of chances.

Dele Adebola had a penalty appeal turned down after a challenge from Colin Murdock in the box after five minutes.

Then Kit Symons had a header crash off the post from a Danny Butterfield free-kick. Palace continued to dominate and took the lead through Black in the 38th minute.

He headed home Julian Gray's right-wing cross from close range which keeper David Lucas couldn't hold onto.

Black then had a chance to lob the onrushing Lucas moments later, but his shot was not high enough and hit Lucas on the chest to go out for a corner.

In the 55th minute, Black doubled the lead when he drilled a low free-kick from the edge of the box into the bottom left corner after second half sub Aki Riihilahti had been fouled.

Twice Dele Adebola was put through with one-on-ones with Lucas, but his first shot was saved and second went narrowly wide when he should have scored.

Black and Adebola were replaced in the last 20 minutes by Wayne Routledge and Ade Akinbiyi, both making returns from injury.

Post match comments:

Trevor Francis said: "Over recent weeks Black's been our man of the match, but he had his poorest game against Portsmouth.

"I will accept when things don't happen for him when he's got the ball, but he's got to work hard when he doesn't have it.

The first goal was a great header and we have only lost once this season when we go ahead. We were good value for 2-0
Trevor Francis

"I wanted a reaction from him and he was back today making the headlines and rightly so. He worked so hard to close down the opposition.

"The first goal was a great header and we have only lost once this season when we go ahead. We were good value for 2-0.

"The play-offs have been our aim since the start of the season, but we've been decimated by injury. We will continue to improve because we're getting players back to full fitness."

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