Second pre-season friendly, same result.
Second pre-season game already, but same result last night as Palace took a short trip down to Crawley (another
pre-season game that seems an annual event now) and after taking a first half lead, had to settle for a 1-1 draw.
A few additional faces were added to the squad from Saturday, with goalkeeper Darryl Flahavan and Johannes Ertl
(at right back) in the starting eleven. That slight re-shuffle of the defence also saw McCarthy partner the re-signed Jose Fonte, with Clint Hill reverting to the left back role.
Ben Watson was back in the side alongside Nick Carle and Sean Derry, while Sean Scannell also returned to his now familiar right wing role. Once again with Palace a bit short on striking options right now (which became very clear during the 2nd half), Paul Ifill played alongside Dougie Freedman.
It was 10 minutes before the game sprang to life, when Crawley midfielder Jon Pittman hit a shot wide after running onto a long ball. Three minutes later McCarthy committed a foul just outside the penalty area in a central position, but the resulting kick was blasted over the bar by Crawley's Cook.
Palace first tested the home 'keeper on 16 when Nick Carle made a short run forward and hit a good shot from 20 yards
plus, although straight into the 'keeper's arms.
Ten minutes later Palace won a free kick in a dangerous position just outside the Crawley area after Derry had setup Watson, and the latter had then been fouled. Picking himself up, the wantaway Palace midfielder curled a great free kick over the wall, but it cannoned back off the right hand post and across the goal to safety.
Then with 8 minutes remaining before half time, the Eagles scored the opener. Chasing the ball into the box out on the left, Paul Ifil held off the nearest man and as the goalie came out, placed a low well struck shot into the bottom right hand corner of the net.
With 3 minutes remaining before the end of the half, there was time for one more chance and it came Crawley's way through their most dangerous looking player again, Pittman. Eluding Ertl's persistence on the right of the box, he cut inside slightly and hit a low shot toward goal that Flahavan did very well to push away to his left and to safety.
Palace then opted to make 5 substitutions at half time, and it was Ben Watson in the 51st minute who setup the next chance.
Laying the ball off to Carle, the Australian from a central spot hit a fierce strike from 20 yards that the 'keeper had to make a diving save to keep ahold of.
Crawley substitute Isiah Rankin (once of Arsenal and Bradford) was making a nuisance of himself with his eager forward running at the other end of the pitch, and in the 62nd minute Ertl had to push him wide in the area before he could snap off a shot to the near post that Flahavan got down to claim.
Then on 64 minutes, the home side were given a penalty. A rash running challenge from youngster Keiran Djali saw a Crawley player crumple under his tackle and although from watching at the other end it seemed to be very far out on the left (probably right on the edge of the area), the ref didn't hesitate to give it.
After a minute or two's delay, the spot kick was then taken and as Flahavan dived to his right, the ball was hammered into the opposite top corner to make it 1-1.
Pittman then had another go for the home side on 69. Being shepherded away on the left of the box by Fonte, he managed to get off a low shot to the near post, but Flahavan had it well covered and gathered the ball.
Final chance of the game game to Palace's young eager midfielder Jamie Smith. Chasing the ball into the area on the right he got off the shot. Although not badly struck, it was just above head height, allowing Crawley's 'keeper to hold onto the ball with both hands firmly.
So Palace once again draw and the game badly highlighted the need to get some strikers in. The Eagles never looked like they would lose the match, but once Dougie Freedman went off with half an hour remaining, it was up to young wingers Djali and Dayton (both of whom busied themselves throughout) and central midfielder Jamie Smith to make things happen. Although all were keen enough, there was no-one but central defender Aaron Dalhouse to meet any crosses (himself a direct sub for Freedman and thrown
on up front).
With Scowcroft injured and a doubt still over Dougie Freedman's future, Palace must make striker recruitment a priority before the season gets underway, although I'm sure the management are well aware of that.
Palace Team: Flahavan, Ertl, Fonte, McCarthy, Hill, Scannell, Derry, Watson, Carle, Freedman, Ifill (c)
Subs: Butterfield (For Hill '46), Comley (For Watson '71), Dayton (For Ifil '46), Cline, Djali (For Scannell '46), Pinney, Adelakun, Abnett, Edwards, Cadogan, Wiggins (For McCarthy '46), Dalhouse (For Freedman '59), Bingham (For Carle '59), Smith (For Derry '46), Wilkinson
Palace Shots/Headers: 7 (4 on target)
Crawley Shot/Headers: 8 (5 on target)
Palace Corners: 3
Crawley Corners: 1
Palace Crosses: 8 (4 from right / 4 from left)
(Djali 2, Dayton 2, Wiggins 1, Ifill 1, Ertl 1, Scannell 1)
Crawley Crosses: 2
Posted by alan