Lambs to the Slaughter
Palace romped home 4-0 in the first of three West Country Tour games, against step six non-leaguers AFC Tavistock a.k.a The Lambs.
In truth the home side couldn't have complained if Palace had at least doubled their tally such was the number of chances they created. In the end they had to settle for a brace from Calvin Andrew, a sublime Ben Watson lob and a rather well executed own goal.
Palace started brightly, but it took a while for the chances to flow. Sean Scannell had the run of the right side and Nick Carle constant probing eventually brought forth a steady stream of chances. Jose Fonte was unlucky to see a bundled header from a corner somehow cleared off the line and Paul Ifill, Shaun Derry, Paddy McCarthy, Carle, Scannell and Andrew all went close.
On 40 minutes the deadlock was finally broken when Carle played in Andrew, his first shot produced a stunning save, but the rebound was duly dispatched. Moments later, Sean Scannell, now ploughing a furrow down the left, somehow managed to squeeze a shot away despite the close attention of three Tavi defenders, the ball crossed the face of the goal and spanked the far post. Ifill couldn’t manage to force the rebound home.
Seven minutes after half time, Palace made the game well and truly safe with three strikes in a five minute burst. First up, Ben Watson was put through and he lofted the ball delicately over the advancing keeper. A couple of minutes later, a deep Danny Butterfield was turned in, with some style, by the outstretched foot of an unfortunate Lambs' defender. A minute later, Calvin Andrew wrapped it up in some style.
Palace should really have added to their total - the reason they didn't was down partly to a continual raft of substitutions which took time to knit, but in the main it was simply bad luck. The woodwork was struck twice more, first by Ben Watson on 75 minutes. A clever flick by Andrew played in Watson who clattered the post with his effort and the rebound was cleared to safety.
Andrew limped off after a heavy challenge during that move, leaving Palace to play the last ten minutes without a recognised striker as both Dougie Freedman and Shefki Kuqi have joined the Academy squad for the Errea Cup.
Kieran Dijali, Jamie Smith and James Dayton seemed to share out the attacking duties in the latter stages. The latter saw a long range drive deflected onto the bar on 80 minutes. In the closing moments, Carl Fletcher also managed to direct a header over when it seemed easier to score, following a slick passing move between Dijali and Dayton.
Tavistock didn't really have very much in response to the onslaught; a shot which Julian Speroni easily dealt with on 35 minutes and a looping, swirling free kick late in the second half which almost caught out the Argentinean stopper, who had to furiously back-pedal to tip it around the post.
A comprehensive win, but not the goal fest it could and really should have been.
Palace Team: Speroni, Butterfield, Hill (Wiggins 65), McCarthy, Fonte (Ertl H/T), Scannell (Dijali 55), Derry (Watson H/T), Carle (Smith 65), Ifill (Dayton H/T), Soares (Fletcher H/T), Andrew (Comley 75).
Goals: Andrew 40, 56. Watson 52, og 54
Posted by neil