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July 10 2020 1.53am

Eagles victorious over Canaries

January 1 2007

Stuart Green

Stuart Green

Palace wrapped up their holiday matches with a convincing 3-1 victory over Norwich, reports Peter Gillman.

After Norwich had dominated the early exchanges, Palace scored three times before half time.

Shefki Kuqi had a hand in all three goals and also played a part in the solitary Norwich reply, a penalty.

In the first 20 minutes Norwich sliced open the Palace defence almost at will. Dangerman Earnshaw and the ever-popular Darren Huckerby created a series of openings, with Huckerby hitting the bar from an acute angle on 10 minutes.

It was entirely against the run of play when Palace took the lead on 25 minutes. Kuqi met a corner from the left and headed across the Norwich goal.

Leon Cort nodded the ball back for Mark Hudson to head home from close range.

Four minutes later Palace went two up. Kuqi won the ball in a crunching midfield tackle on Norwich’s Doherty.

Defender Safri tripped over Doherty as he lay on the ground, while Freedman collected the ball and put Kuqi clear with a precision pass.

Kuqi left Norwich keeper Gallacher helpless with a pile-driver from the left.

Norwich clawed their way back into the match following a clash between Kuqi and Huckerby on 44 minutes.

After Kuqi brought down Huckerby on the left, Huckerby pushed Kuqi in the chest. Referee Boyeson awarded the foul against Kuqi and mysteriously did not book Huckerby.

When the resultant free kick was swung into a crowded Palace area, the referee awarded a penalty for handball by Carl Fletcher. Earnshaw's spot kick clipped the underside of the bar before bouncing in.

Palace regained their lead in added time before the break. Kuqi took the ball to the Norwich goal-line and squared to Stuart Green, who was in space eight yards out. Green hit the ball first time, beating Gallacher on his near post.

Palace had several chances to increase their lead as both sides went for goal in an end-to-end second half.

The best opening fell to Hughesey, clear in the area after another great run by Kuqi, but Doherty just managed to deflect his shot.

Norwich were still in the running and Flinders had to come off his line to block a shot by Croft.

The Doog, who had linked well again with Kuqi, had to be substituted after going down under what looked like a dangerous tackle from Doherty, although the Norwich player escaped a yellow card.

Kuqi almost made it four when he headed just past the far post from a Clinton cross in the last minute of added time.

The win, resoundingly cheered by the home fans, brings Palace eight points from 12 over the Christmas period.

They are now in 15th place with 34 points - eight above Barnsley in the top relegation position, and nine behind Colchester in sixth place.

Palace: Flinders; Hudson, Cort, Ward, Lawrence ; Green, Fletcher, Hughes, Reich (McAnuff 46); Freedman (Morrison 73), Kuqi.

Subs not used: Wilkinson, Scowcroft, Kennedy.

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