Crystal Palace suffer heavy pre-season defeat

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Crawley received a confidence booster going into the League One season as they saw off Premier League new-boys Crystal Palace 3-0.

With Crawley putting in good performances in the past pre-season games and not reaping their rewards - it was about time that they received their credit. 

The Reds had to deal with an early onslaught from the Eagles but Billy Clarke, Sergio Torres and Matt Sadler were able to weaken Palace's spirits.

Richie Barker named another strong XI with Palace also fielding a very strong team too, however play-off final hero Kevin Phillips was dropped to the bench.

There was a threat from Palace early on as Damien Delaney headed a corner inches wide within two minutes of the game.

The pressure continued with subsequent corners as the Eagles clearly wanted to impress their large army of travelling fans.

Reds didn't sit back though; Clarke's effort on 10 minutes bounced off the chest of Julian Speroni before the keeper could comfortably claim it.

Town keeper Paul Jones kept the Reds in the game with a numerous amount of outstanding saves. 

On 20 minutes, Jones pushed out a deflected drive from Dwight Gayle with a strong right hand. 

Six minutes later the keeper pulled off another crowd-pleasing save when Jerome Thomas was put clean through on goal from Stephen Dobbie's pass.

Thomas then placed the ball in the corner but Jones was fast down and managed to get a big hand to turn it away.

The Eagles had worked hard and probably deserved a reward for their efforts but instead it was Clarke who scored to put Crawley ahead. 

Josh Simpson picked out Gary Alexander whose cut-back was cleared to Clarke who cooly slotted just inside the left-hand post.

Speroni kept Palace in the game by making some good saves too; beating out a low shot from Simpson. 

Although Speroni was beaten minutes later as a superb shot from the skipper flew inches over the bar leaving the keeper with no chance.

At half-time there were many substitutions with quite a few more coming on the hour mark. Phillips was one of the six Palace subs to come on at half-time.

Speroni was the busier of the two keepers in the second half; having to deal with a James Hurst shot and an Alexander header.

Palace than had a few chances for themselves. Quincy Owusu-Abeyie curled a free-kick narrowly wide and Phillips' blistering shot crept over the bar. 

However it was Crawley who added to their lead as full-back Hurst was allowed to run unchecked to the edge of the box before pulling the trigger on a shot that Ross Fitzsimons failed to hold allowing Argentinian midfielder Torres to tuck home a neat header.

The Reds saved the best until last. With three minutes to go Andy Drury produced a great delivery from the right-hand side, but the shot from Sadler was even better as the defender connected sublimely to smash a first-time shot past the helpless keeper. 

It was a great end to Reds' pre-season campaign and this performance leaves a very difficult decision for manager Barker as he sits down to name the side that will face Coventry City in Crawley's first League One fixture of the 2013/14 campaign.

Crawley's league season kicks off on August 3.


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