Trouble flared seconds after the leaders' top scorer, Clinton Morrison, had beaten Pat Jennings, son of the former Northern Ireland international goalkeeper, also called Pat, to put Palace in front in the 25th minutes. Shortly after the restart, the pitch emptied of all the players who joined in a fracas on the touchline where Wimbledon's coaching staff were alongside supporters.
The row seems to have been started when one of the Wimbledon playing staff who was watching reacted the match angrily to an alleged racist remark made to him.
The players were followed to the touchlines by the Palace youth coach, Peter Nicholas, the former Welsh international midfielder, and his colleagues who raced across from one flank to the other to join in the melee.
It took three minutes before order was restored. But another fracas after 42 minutes, this time on the pitch, between Palace's Wayne Carlisle, who was cautioned, and Wimbledon's Marcus O'Sullivan, who escaped unpunished, threatened to revive the ill feeling between the Selhurst Park ground sharers. The game, which Palace needed to win to maintain their title challenge, also saw cautions for Palace's Tony Folan and Wimbledon's Russ Williamson and Drew Watkins.Reuse content