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Match Reports

Norwich City v Crystal Palace

8 August 2015


NORWICH CITY suffered defeat in their first match back in the Barclays Premier League, losing 3-1 to Crystal Palace at Carrow Road.

The Canaries started the game very well, with Lewis Grabban hitting the post, but Wilfried Zaha's goal sent the Eagles in at half-time with the advantage.

Damien Delaney scored a second for the visitors soon after the break, but Nathan Redmond's fine strike with 20 minutes left offered hope of a revival, and Cameron Jerome then saw a goal controversially disallowed.

Yohan Cabaye's debut effort in stoppage time wrapped up the points for Alan Pardew's side as City's top flight return started in disappointing fashion.

Alex Neil made one enforced change from last weekend's final friendly win over Brentford, with Alex Tettey brought into the midfield to replace the injured Youssouf Mulumbu.

Play-Off Final goalscorers Jerome and Redmond both had to settle for places among the substitutes as Robbie Brady made his competitive debut for the Canaries at left-back.

Palace left their two new frontmen, Connor Wickham and Patrick Bamford, on the bench but there was a debut for record signing Cabaye in midfield.

Neil would have wished for his team to start on the front foot at home, and that's exactly what they did as they dominated the opening 15 minutes.

Grabban turned a Jonny Howson cross wide after just four minutes, and the striker will probably have been relieved to see the offside flag raised after the miss.

He was onside after ten minutes, though, when City's best opportunity of the half fell to him - a flowing move culminated in Steven Whittaker finding Grabban at the back-post, but his stab at goal while stretching deflected wide off the outside of the post.

Palace, who finished tenth in the top flight last season, steadied the ship and Jason Puncheon's shot on the half hour looked destined for the bottom corner, but Alex Tettey got himself in the way.

John Ruddy was then called into action, with Glenn Murray pouncing on a Joel Ward header only to find City's goalkeeper in fine form - but the trend was changing and the visitors capitalised on 39 minutes.

Ward found Puncheon on the right, and Zaha was left unmarked at the back post to meet his cross and fire Palace into the lead despite Ruddy's best attemps to keep it out.

Ruddy then prevented Jordon Mutch from adding a second three minutes later, but City responded themselves and finished the half the stronger with Brady forcing a save out of Alex McCarthy.

HALF-TIME: Norwich City 0-1 Crystal Palace

The Canaries were caught out four minutes into the second half, however, as former Ipswich defender Delaney doubled their lead.

City left Pape Souare free from a corner, his header fell to the unmarked defender inside the six box, where he swept home to leave the home team a mountain to climb.

Palace had McCarthy to thank minutes later, though, as he made an impressive double-save - first he kept out Grabban's powerful shot from the angle, and then he scrambled across to deny Johnson who had stooped for a header.

Neil didn't waste any time in making a double-change, introducing Jerome and Redmond on 52 minutes to try and launch his team's comeback.

Redmond was at the centre of a dangerous counter-attack on 62 minutes, but when his cross was cleared to Howson 20 yards from goal, the midfielder fired wide of McCarthy's post.

Seven minutes later, however, it was the winger who hauled City back into the contest - intricate passing in City's fluid midfielder allowed Redmond the space to try from range, and his 25-yard effort nestled into the corner.

The goal rejuvenated the hosts and they thought they had levelled four minutes later, but Jerome's effort was controversially ruled out.

The substitute had hooked the ball home with his back to goal, but referee Simon Hooper adjudged his foot to be high and chalked off what City thought was their equaliser.

With ten minutes to go, City set themselves for the final push by bringing on Gary Hooper for Graham Dorrans, but Palace were exploiting the subsequent space and Ruddy had to be at full stretch to deny Yannick Bolasie.

Cabaye then raced onto James McArthur's pass in the final moments to secure the victory for Pardew's side, and City will head to Sunderland next weekend hoping to get off the mark in the Premier League.

FULL-TIME: Norwich City 1-3 Crystal Palace

GOALS: Canaries: Nathan Redmond (69) - Eagles: Wilfried Zaha (39), Damien Delaney (49)

NORWICH CITY: Ruddy; Whittaker, Martin (c), Bassong, Brady; Howson, Dorrans (Hooper 79), Tettey (Redmond 53), Johnson; Hoolahan; Grabban (Jerome 53). Subs not used: Rudd (GK), Wisdom, R Bennett, O'Neil.

CRYSTAL PALACE: McCarthy; Ward, Dann, Delaney (c); Souare; McArthur, Cabaye; Zaha (Bolasie 72), Mutch (Jedinak 72), Puncheon; Murray (Wickham 82). Subs not used: Hennessey (GK), Kelly, Gayle, Bamford.

REFEREE: Simon Hooper


RICHARD PIKE GOLDEN GOAL TIMES: 1st (38:02), 2nd (48:58), 3rd (68:09), 4th (90:00)

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