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Blackpool 1-0 Palace: Flat Eagles undone by superb Phillips strike

CRYSTAL Palace were defeated 1-0 by the ten men of Blackpool this afternoon at Bloomfield Road.

Despite having a man advantage for just over a half, the Eagles couldn't muster a strike in front of a strong traveling contingent, before they were punished late on thanks to Matty Phillips' wonderful goal.

In terms of team news, Stephen Dobbie came in for Kevin Phillips, who was unable to play against his parent club, while Jonny Williams and Danny Gabbidon were dropped to the bench, and Peter Ramage was recalled to the starting XI for the latter.

On a sunny afternoon in the north west, Palace fans were in fine voice from kick-off as Ian Holloway's side took to a flat but patchy surface at Bloomfield Road.

Blackpool had a great chance to take the lead early on when England U21 international Nathan Delfouneso beat the offside trap and ran clear of  Ramage, but his shot was superbly palmed away by Julian Speroni.

The Eagles began to get into their passing rhythm and Damien Delaney nearly won an aerial battle with home goalkeeper Matt Gilks for a high ball, but the custodian managed to punch clear.

And then Wilfried Zaha nearly found Stephen Dobbie, but the Scotsman's shot was blocked instantly.

Gilks pulled off a good stop to deny Zaha on the right side of the box, and from the resulting corner, the goalkeeper missed the ball but Delaney could only shoot high and wide when he could have done a lot better.

The hosts began to get back into the game and were particulary dangerous from the left flank, with a number of deliveries swung in.

Palace were dealing with the situation well, while Mile Jedinak did well to track Matty Phillips through the middle after the midfielder had beaten Dikgacoi and Delaney on the edge of the box.

Speroni kept the Eagles in the game with another super save after 35 minutes, this time getting down to his left to deny Delfouneso again from close range following Ludovic Sylvestre's cross.

However, shortly before the break, Blackpool's Barry Ferguson was shown a second yellow card for a clear obstruction on Yannick Bolasie, who had stormed down the middle of the pitch following a breakout from the Palace defence.

The sending-off infuriated the home faithful and manager Paul Ince, but it was a great chance for the Eagles to take advantage going into the half-time interval.

Palace had a very good chance to take the lead shortly into the second period when the ball fell to Dobbie at the far post, but instead of hitting it first time, his touch was poor and it took him wide of the target.

Despite having a man more, there seemed to be a lack of urgency from Palace after the first 15 minutes of the half, and you sensed Blackpool could nick a goal.

Holloway introduced Williams and Andre Moritz after 70 minutes in a bid to put the hosts to the sword, and the Brazilian nearly made an instant impact as his free-kick caused havoc in the box before Bolasie's goal-bound shot was closed down.

But the hosts took the lead thanks to a stunning first time strike from Matty Phillips, who beat Speroni at full stretch from the edge of the box.

And despite four minutes off added-on time, the Eagles couldn't break down a stubborn home defence in search of an equaliser.

Barnsley arrive at Selhurst Park on Saturday.

Palace: Speroni, Richards (Wilbraham 85), Parr, Ramage, Delaney, Dikgacoi (Williams 70), Dobbie (Moritz 70), Jedinak (c), Bolasie, Zaha, Murray.

Subs Not Used: Price, Ward, Marrow, Gabbidon.

Attendance: 14,373

By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson

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