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More away day woe

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PALACE boss Ian Holloway was left to rue a number of missed chances as his side went down to a 1-0 defeat at Sheffield Wednesday last Saturday.

The Eagles have not won away from home since November 12 at Peterborough United, but with the most crucial point of the season upon the team, they will need to improve on the road if they're to take one of the automatic promotion spots.

"I thought that we were much better in the second half, we settled down and it looked as if anyone was going to score it would have been us, but unfortunately that wasn't the way it turned out," said Holloway.

"We have to get our away form sorted out as we haven't won since Peterborough and that was thanks to two late goals coming from behind.

"There's no reason why we can't win away – if you read the stats we were pretty comfortable but we didn't turn it into a goal.

"It was just the last pass that let us down but if I'm upset with anything, it was the ease of the cross that came in for the goal.

"It gets desperate at this stage of the season and I think we looked desperate in the end and lost all structure, which you can never do.

"We struggled to get our game going and they seemed to have a bit more belief about them than us.

"I don't think we deserved to lose – I felt a draw would have been a fair result."

The hosts started the better as Lewis Buxton had the first effort of the afternoon with a free-kick but sent it over Julian Speroni's crossbar.

Then David Prutton let fly with a 25-yard effort while Leroy Lita went close after getting in behind Eagles defensive duo Peter Ramage and Damien Delaney.

The Owls cranked up the pressure on Palace after 12 minutes when Giles Coke had a shot blocked, before the ball came back into the box to Lita, who went down quite easily under a challenge, but it ended up with Miguel Llera heading wide after Speroni clawed the ball away from goal.

Lita then saw a header saved by Speroni, while the striker was flagged offside following Connor Wickham's flick-on.

Palace would have wanted the half-time break to re-assess their options, with the Owls having the better of the play and chances.

But good work by Kagisho Dikgacoi just after the half-hour mark saw the midfielder thread the ball towards Glenn Murray, but he could not quite reach it.

Dikgacoi nearly got away down the middle only for Anthony Gardner to put in a good tackle, while Stephen Dobbie saw two efforts from the edge of the box blocked in succession.

However, Palace were certainly a different side after the 15-minute break.

Yannick Bolasie won a corner early on after good work down the flank, before Murray was very close to giving Palace the lead at the far post from Dobbie's cross but he could not quite connect.

Then Dikgacoi let fly from 25-yards with Kirkland rooted to the ground, but luckily for him it flashed just wide.

Murray thought he was going to add to his goal tally but he was stopped by Llera with a last-ditch tackle and then Kevin Phillips came on for Jonathan Williams with 25 minutes remaining.

Palace were a whisker away from taking a deserved lead when Bolasie forced a great stop from Kirkland following a quick breakaway, while the winger was at the heart of another chance moments later but his ball was just a bit too much for Murray to reach.

It was all Palace but they just could not find the breakthrough. And they could have been in again only for former Eagle Gardner to deny a way through.

However, against the run of play, Wednesday took the lead with their first chance of the second half on 81 minutes as Lita headed home off the underside of the crossbar from close range.

The Eagles were stunned after dominating the half and Holloway sent on Aaron Wilbraham and Jacob Butterfield in a bid to salvage a point.

But Lita had a chance to grab his second in the first minute of added-on time when Jedinak lost the ball down the middle, but Speroni saved superbly with his feet.

And despite a couple of balls into the Wednesday box late on, Palace could not find the net.

More away day woe


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