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Palace 1-3 Colchester United

December 10 2006

Scott Flinders

Scott Flinders

Crystal Palace turned in a shocking last 30 minutes which handed Colchester United an easy 3-1 victory at Selhurst Park, writes Simon Pophale.

Where did it all go wrong? It would seem that Geraint Williams pulled off a managerial masterstroke when he brought on Richard Garcia for John Jackson on the hour.

Colchester looked threatening on occasion, but in a matter of 30 minutes, Garcia proved that he was the difference between the two sides.

His first contribution was a dangerous cross which Scott Flinders gathered. It was his pass that set up Jamie Cureton whose harmless cross was turned onto the bar by Flinders which rebounded straight into the path of Karl Duguid who couldnít miss.

Garcia then got himself on the scoresheet as he unleashed a 20 yard effort which Flinders didnít even see as it flashed into the net on 70 minutes.

Clinton Morrison scored with header on 83 minutes, following a Granville free kick, but Garciasí final flourish was to be brought down in the box by Micheal Hughes, from which Chris Iwelumo scored from the spot; sending Flinders the wrong way with 7 minutes to go.

Prior to all this, the first 45 minutes were quite enjoyable. We had most of the possession and attacked Colchester from the off. Jobi McAnuff had 2 efforts in the first 10 minutes, both of which were saved by Dean Gerken.

Colchestersí first attack saw Duguids effort nearly get a touch from the on-rushing Iwelumo, but the ball sailed harmlessly wide.

3 minutes later, Iain Turner made an outstanding save from Jamie Cureton. The Colchester forward hit a rising shot towards the top right hand corner until Turner stuck out a hand to deflect it wide.

It would be Turnersí last action of the game, as he was taken off on 22 minutes to be replaced by Flinders.

It was not long before Flinders was called into action, as Darren Ward failed to cut out a run by Cureton and with the ball bouncing around the area, Hudson managed to somehow deflect it back to the England U-20 goalkeeper.

Despite having the majority of possession, we could not turn this into goals. Micheal Hughes and Ben Watson delivered a number of poor corners and free kicks, while Shefki Kuqi looked a shadow of the player who performed so well against QPR.

The 2nd half started in much the same vein as the 1st, with us on the attack. Yet it would be Dean Gerken once again who would thwart our hopes.

Kuqi headed the ball down to Morrison just inside the area and his sharp turn and shot was met by Gerken whose save was as good as Turnersí in the first period.

Geraint Williams then sent on Garcia, but moments before this McAnuff set up Morrison, whose shot which flew over the bar as Gerken bore down on him.

After the results in the last 4 matches appeared to show that we had turned a corner, this 6th home defeat was a bitter pill to swallow.

The mid-season report, should we not get a positive result at Derby next week, will not make pleasant reading.

Palace: Turner (Flinders 22), Lawrence, Hudson, Ward, Granville, Soares, Watson (Green 72), Hughes, McAnuff, Morrison, Kuqi (Scowcroft 72).

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