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Huddersfield Town 1-0 Palace: Eagles suffer defeat thanks to former loan striker

CRYSTAL Palace missed the chance to go second in the Championship tonight after a 1-0 defeat at Huddersfield Town.

Former Eagles loan striker James Vaughan proved to be the matchwinner just before the midway point of the second half as Palace were left frustrated on a cold night in West Yorkshire.

On a bumpy pitch at the John Smith Stadium, Palace had the first opportunity of the match when Andre Moritz delivered a free-kick to the back post and Huddersfield defender Calum Woods sent a firm header back to goalkeeper Alex Smithies by some surprise.

Adam Clayton tried his luck with a tame effort from range at the other end shortly after but Julian Speroni held with ease, before Palace loan signing Jazz Richards bombed down the right for and sent into a teasing cross but there wasn't anyone at the back post for the Eagles.

Oliver Norwood picked up the first booking of the night for a late challenge on Yannick Bolasie after 25 minutes, but from the resulting free-kick sent in by Moritz, Damien Delaney couldn't quite reach the ball towards the far post.

Palace felt as if they should have had a free-kick given to them when Moritz looked to have been on the end of a hard challenge, but the referee played on and the ball fell to former Eagle Neil Danns in the box before forcing a good stop from Speroni.

And just after the half-hour mark, Danns sent a downwards volley towards goal but Speroni held firmly following another Huddersfield attack.

Moritz then tested Smithies with a free-kick which took a slight deflection on its way through fron 25-yards out as Palace began to get a grip on the game again.

And Moritz was at the heart of their next move going forward when he spread the play out to Jonathan Parr after a one-two with Jedinak through the middle, but following a cross from the left, Glenn Murray was flagged offside.

However, Moritz was replaced on the stroke of half-time by Jonathan Williams after suffering an injury to his leg.

And Williams could have opened the scoring shortly into the second period when he found himself taking on the last defender, but he was eventually pushed out wide.

James Vaughan then went into the referee's book for catching Jedinak late in the middle of the park, while Danns tested Speroni again with a shot from the left side of the box.

Zaha looked to have been clipped inside the box after 59 minutes when he won the ball back off Jack Hunt down the left flank, while the home fans were calling for handball from Damien Delaney as he nudged the ball back to Speroni from a long ball forward.

Jonathan Parr then sent in two dangerous deliveries from the left byline but unfortunately the hosts managed to clear their lines, including a great block to deny Butterfield inside the box.

However, the hosts took the lead on 65 minutes when a through-ball into the feet of James Vaughan inside the box was cooly slotted home under Speroni by the striker.

Holloway decided he had no choice but to go for the equaliser after 75 minutes by sending on Aaron Wilbraham and Jermaine Easter for both full-backs in Richards and Parr, with Jedinak slipping into defence with Ramage and Delaney.

Former Palace academy product Sean Scannell came on for the hosts and tested Speroni minutes later, while Vaughan was replaced by Jermaine Beckford with four minutes remaining.

Zaha continued to be a frustrated figure down the left as the home defence kept a close eye on him, while the referee added a further four minutes for Holloway's side to come up with an equaliser.

But it wasn't to be as the hosts hit the crossbar late on with a chipped shot before the whistle was blown for full-time.

Palace: Speroni, Richards (Wilbraham 75), Parr (Easter 75), Ramage, Delaney, Butterfield, Jedinak (c), Moritz (Williams 45), Zaha, Bolasie, Murray.

Subs Not Used: Price, Moxey, Marrow, O'Keefe.

Attendance: 13,471 (538 Palace fans)

By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson

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