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May 29 2020 12.39am

Dismal at The Den

December 26 2001

Jules - the best of a bad bunch

Jules - the best of a bad bunch

There was no Christmas cheer for Eagles fans as pathetic Palace got a 3-0 Boxing Day pasting to arch rivals millwall at the Den.

The game was effectively over in the space of five minutes after half-time thanks to Steve Claridge (50 mins), and a brace from Richard Sadlier (52, and 55).

Right from the start, millwall meant business and clearly wanted to win far more than the gutless Palace side who are in a free-fall down the table.

In the first half, the Eagles defended desperately and held out from a flurry of millwall shots and mostly dodgy corners - ref David Elleray was having a poor game.

Julian Gray was Palace's only real outlet and they rallied back and had chances of their own. Clinton Morrison missed a sitter when he skied over from the edge of the six-yard box from a Trevor Benjamin knock down.

Any other day, it would have nestled in the bottom corner of the net. He had a cross turned away from a corner when Benjamin was inches away from getting on the end of it.

After the interval, Claridge continued his habit of scoring past his old club. He turned Kit Symons and hit a weak shot into the back of the net from a few yards out. millwall were on fire.

Two minutes later, Sadlier fired home a well-taken goal from the edge of the box from a Sean Dyche free-kick. Palace had fell apart and Sadlier got his second when he headed home unmarked from close range from a Neil Harris cross down the right.

Sadlier could have had a hat-trick and Alex Kolinko made a great save to deny a Harris header destined for the top corner.

Second half substitution of Craig Harrison, Steve Thomson and Scott Gooding, making his debut could stir anyy life into a dismal performance.

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