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May 31 2023 10.13am

Palace crash out of play-offs

May 13 2008

Ben Watson

Ben Watson

Crystal Palace were dumped out of the play-offs after losing 2-1 against Bristol City at Ashton Gate.

City went into the game with a narrow 2-1 advantage after the first leg at Selhurst Park on Saturday and they started this return fixture well.

Eagles defender Mark Hudson cleared Marvin Elliott's header from David Noble's cross off the line, then keeper Julian Speroni denied Lee Trundle's attempt on goal.

Scott Sinclair had claims for a penalty denied by referee Howard Webb after he tried to weave his way past Jamie McCombe and Louis Carey in the box.

Against the run of play, Palace drew first blood with a fine goal from midfielder Ben Watson who got Palace's first leg goal.

Danny Butterfield's cross was headed out by McCombe as keeper Adrian Basso rushed off his line and the ball fell to Watson who expertly steered home his header from the edge of the area.

At this stage Palace were level 2-2 on aggregate and back in the tie, managing to fight off some Bristol pressure before half-time.

Jose Fonte was brought on at the break for Matt Lawrence and the match increased in tempo as both teams searched for the all-important next goal.

After Speroni saved from Elliott, it was Palace who started to take the tie by the scruff of the neck with the hard-working Sean Scannell and Scott Sinclair looking threatening.

Palace were given a superb chance to get a foothold in the tie on 72 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Nick Carle's high challenge on Tom Soares in the box.

Unfortunately for the Eagles, Watson's well-struck kick smashed against the left post and was cleared to safety.

As the 90 minutes drew to a close, Scannell almost won it for Palace as his deflected shot looped onto the roof of the net. Then on a swift counter-attack, Trundle went closer with a shot that smacked against the bar.

But a minute before the end of the first half of extra-time, the Scouser hit an excellent curling drive from the edge of the area to put his side in the box seat.

And Michael McIndoe ensured City were on their way to Wembley when he made it 2-1 on the night with a 25-yard fizzing low free-kick into the bottom corner to leave Palace devastated.

Bristol City: Basso, Orr, McCombe, Carey, McAllister, Noble (Sproule 91), Carle (Fontaine 113), Elliott, McIndoe, Trundle (Johnson 109), Adebola.

Not Used: Weale, Byfield.

Palace: Speroni, Butterfield, Hudson, Lawrence (Fonte 46), Hill, Soares, Watson, Derry (Moses 106), Scannell, Sinclair (Ifill 111), Morrison.

Not Used: Craig, Fletcher.

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