Palace Ease Past Derby
Attendance: 16, 211
Crystal Palace extended their winning run and their lead at the top of table as they defeated Derby County 3-0 at Selhurst Park. Poor marking allowed Glenn Murray to head home a corner from close range and Palace's leading scorer was a thorn in the side of the Derby defence all afternoon. The Rams looked to get back in the game at the start of the second period but a flick from Murray saw Andre Moritz extend the lead and Murray completed the scoring when he beat two defenders before firing a shot into the roof of the net to round off a miserable afternoon for Nigel Clough's who lost their third straight game on the road.
Jake Buxton came into the side in place of James O'Connor and there was also a start for Michael Jacobs in place of Theo Robinson as Derby went with one up front against the Championship leaders. Palace looked to take the game to Derby in the opening stages with Wilfried Zaha the focal point of their attacking before Buxton denied Andre Moritz with a last ditch tackle as he closed on goal. Conor Sammon could only get a glancing touch to a Jacobs cross as the ball went wide of the target but the home side took the lead with twelve minutes played with a simple goal, Yannick Bolasie took a corner from the left and poor marking in the Derby defence allowed Glenn Murray to head home from close range.
Peter Ramage headed a Craig Bryson cross narrowly wide of his own goal but Palace were on top and Moritz forced Adam Legzdins into a low save to left at the expense of a corner before Kagisho Dikgacoi fired over from the edge of the area. The Rams threatened once more before the break when Buxton's header from a Paul Coutts freekick found Jeff Hendrick but at full stretch he could only stab wide from a tight angle.
Zaha's clever run at the start of the second period ended with him cutting the ball back for Moritz but the Brazilian could only fire over from ten yards and Will Hughes curled an effort straight at Julian Speroni at the other end as Derby carried a little more threat. Buxton denied Zaha after a flick from Murray and the former Brighton striker was involved again as Palace took a two goal lead when his knockdown was dispatched by Moritz as the ball sat up nicely for him.
The goalscorer nearly added his second of the afternoon when he fired another effort inches wide of the far post and the result was put beyond any doubt when Murray beat Gareth Roberts and Buxton down the left before running into the area and firing a shot into the roof of the net as Legzdins came out to meet him. In a rare attack Hughes forced Speroni into a fine save at full length with a curling effort but at the final whistle The Rams were well beaten.
Derby County: Legzdins; Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, Roberts; Coutts (Tyson 80), Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes, Jacobs; Sammon (Robinson 74).
Subs Not Used: Fielding, O`Connor, O`Brien, Gjokaj, Hoganson.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Parr, Bolasie (Easter 88), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Zaha, Murray (Wilbraham 88), Delaney, Ramage, Moritz (Garvan 76).
Subs Not Used: Price, Blake, Moxey, O'Keefe.