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Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough: Murray stuns Selhurst in front of England boss

CRYSTAL Palace thumped Middlesbrough 4-1 at Selhurst Park this afternoon, with top goalscorer Glenn Murray scoring an absolute beauty in front of England manager Roy Hodgson.

Even though the national boss was more likely to have been watching Wilfried Zaha, he would have walked away from SE25 having seen one of the best strikes Selhurst Park has ever witnessed.

Murray got the ball rolling early on before Peter Ramage extended the lead just after the interval. And the Eagles' top scorer added to his 25 league goals with his eye-catching second of the afternoon.

The visitors pulled a goal back through Faris Haroun, but it was never going to spoil an enjoyable day for the natives as substitute Kevin Phillips added the fourth moments later. You can see more pictures from Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough here

On-loan Chelsea youngster Josh McEachran had the first effort of the afternoon with a shot which looped up from a deflection, but Julian Speroni caught the ball with ease to his right.

But it was the Eagles that took the lead after just nine minutes when great work from Wilfried Zaha down the right saw the winger beat his marker and deliver a ball across the six-yard box for Glenn Murray to tap home his 26th goal of the season.

Midway through the half, Murray had two great chances in quick succession to extend Palace's lead.

The first, he couldn't quite get a full connection on Zaha's cross from the left, while the second, he headed just over after some quite brilliant play again from the winger in front of England boss Hodgson.

Stephen Dobbie was pulling the strings through the middle for the Eagles and on the half-hour mark he played in a great ball to Murray, but the ball was flicked away for a corner.

And from the set-piece Dobbie took Boro keeper Jason Steele by surprise with what looked like a shot, but he managed to punch the ball away off the goal-line.

In a rare Boro attack after 39 minutes, Eagles defender made sure Palace went into the break leading when he headed the ball off the line from Fa Haroun's effort at the far post.

And then a minute later, McEachran cut the ball back inside the box, but luckily Delaney was on hand to clear before being on the end of a late challenge from Rhys Williams.

You can see more pictures from Crystal Palace v Middlesbrough here On the stroke of half-time, Jazz Richards nearly gifted Boro a way back in when he nearly headed the ball into his own net from a corner, but luckily it went out past the far post.

However, just three minutes into the second half and Palace extended their lead.

After Williams had won a corner, Dobbie sent the ball towards the far post for Murray, who headed back into mix and Peter Ramage was on hand to fire the ball home on the turn.

It was his fourth goal of the season and you would have thought he was a striker with such an accomplished finish.

However, if that took you by surprise, it got even better nine minutes later when Murray scored an absolute belter in front of the Holmesdale Stand.

Picking the ball up 20-yards out, he teed the ball up onto his left foot and unleashed an unstoppable left-foot shot into the top corner.

It was arguably his best strike of the his 27 goals this season - and what a way to do it in front of the national boss. Was he really there to watch Zaha?

Middlesbrough gave themselves a lifeline on 80 minutes when Haroun latched onto a ball inside the box before slotting the ball under Speroni.

But Phillips killed the visitors off when he scored his second goal in consecutive games with a left-footed finish from another Zaha assist.

With Hull City and Watford also winning this afternoon, Palace remain fourth on 55 points as the race for promotion hots up.

Palace: Speroni, Richards, Parr, Ramage, Delaney, Dikgacoi (Butterfield 76), Jedinak (c), Williams (Phillips 70), Dobbie (Bolasie 81), Zaha, Murray.

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

Attendance: 17,213

By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson

Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough: Murray stuns Selhurst in front of England boss

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