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Eagles Stoking it up

April 7 2008

Jose Fonte

Jose Fonte

Crystal Palace leapt into the play-off places with a 2-1 win at high-flying Stoke City.

Tom Soares and Jose Fonte gave the Eagles a two-goal cushion at half-time and resolute defending in the second period ensured a vital three points.

Stoke were dangerous right from the kick-off with targetmen Mamady Sidibe and Shola Ameobi causing havoc in the Palace penalty area.

They almost grabbed a ninth minute lead as Sidibe got his head on the end of Rory Delap's huge throw and the ball hit the post and rolled along the goal line before it was safely cleared.

Victor Moses then started to make his mark in the match and was a constant menace driving forward down the left wing. He had a great chance with a shot just over the bar after a jinking run.

Palace shocked the hosts by taking the lead in the 21st minute thanks to Soares' fourth goal of the campaign. Loan boy Scott Sinclair showed quick feet down the right and his cross to Soares at the far side was nodded past former Palace keeper Carlo Nash.

Stoke responded with a Stephen Pearson long range effort before Eagles centre back Jose Fonte made it 2-0 with a brilliant goal on the stroke of half-time.

The on-loan Benfica ace got on the end of a loose ball on the edge of the area and volleyed into the top corner.

Stoke threw everything at Palace in the second half but excellent defending and a bit of luck kept them out.

Julian Speroni was on hand to tip Richard Cresswell's shot from the right over in the 52nd minute, then he saved low shot from sub Ricardo Fuller on 69 minutes.

The Potters eventually got a goal back in the 84th minute. Glenn Whelan blasted home a 25 yard cracker to leave a nervous finale with five added minutes and Palace just about held on.

Stoke: Nash, Griffin, Riggott, Cort, Pugh, Whelan, Delap,Pearson (Bothroyd 77), Cresswell, Sidibe (Fuller 56), Ameobi.

Not Used: Simonsen, Shawcross, Dickinson.

Palace: Speroni, Lawrence, Hudson, Fonte, Hill,Sinclair (Fletcher 89), Soares (Scannell 89), Watson, Derry,Moses (Reid 56), Morrison.

Not Used: Robinson, Butterfield.

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