Crystal Palace 1 QPR 1: Morrison reaches century to rescue Palace

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The Independent Online

Palace's new manager, Neil Warnock, had spoken before this derby of his desperation to earn a win after five matches in charge, claiming he was "bored of draws". But he was hardly complaining of ennui yesterday after seeing Clinton Morrison score his 100th goal for the club two minutes from time to rescue a point.

Until Morrison glanced home a free-kick from the 15-year-old substitute John Bostock – who had become Palace's youngest ever first-team player a week earlier – QPR appeared to have done enough to win despite missing three clear chances to put the result beyond doubt in the second half.

Three smart interventions from Palace's keeper, Julian Speroni, however, kept the home side in contention, and after Morrison had celebrated his landmark goal by running all the way back to the other end of the ground, the home team might even have earned an unlikely victory with a chance that fell in the 93rd minute to the substitute Doug Freedman, but the veteran pulled his shot wide from 12 yards out.

Warnock said he had let rip at half-time after his team fell behind a minute before the interval when Scott Sinclair, who arrived on loan from Chelsea on Tuesday, was allowed to head home a cross by Akos Buzsaky.

"I said one or two things at half-time, so now they know what I'm like," he said with a grin. "We weren't getting into their faces enough. In the short term we've got to get some points and move up the table. In the long term some things are going to have to change. It's frustrating, but it's something to get your teeth into. I was pleased for our fans today. At the end you'd have thought we'd won the World Cup."

Warnock's counterpart, Luigi Di Canio, also appointed last month, accepted that his men had missed their chance to earn a victory that would have lifted them out of the relegation area. As it is, they are still there, just one place above Palace.

If Morrison – who had claims for a first-half penalty waved away by the referee – filledcentre stage for Palace, Speroni deserved joint billing after stifling successive breakaways from Adam Bolder, Sinclair and Rowan Vine.

"This game was a good signal for the future," Di Canio said. "Hopefully we won't face such good goalkeepers in future."

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