Crystal Palace 2 Coventry City 0

Unlikely lads help Palace maintain charge for promotion
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The Independent Football

The prolific goalscoring of Dougie Freedman and Clinton Morrison has fired Crystal Palace's promotion charge in recent weeks, but their sixth win in nine matches came courtesy of two players who rarely trouble the scoreboard operators.

Wayne Andrews and Emmerson Boyce, who between them had scored just one goal for Palace in a combined total of 70 appearances before last night's match at Selhurst Park, both found the target in the first half as Iain Dowie's men completed their third victory of the season over Coventry City.

There was more than a hint of relief in Andrews' joyous celebrations. Andrew Johnson and Jon Macken have missed most of the season through injury, but the form of Freedman and Morrison has restricted Andrews' chances. He was given his opportunity here wide on the right and was a constant threat with his pace and acceleration.

Andrews' goal came after just 55 seconds. Released by Freedman's astute through pass, he smashed the ball past Marton Fulop from the edge of the penalty area. "If anybody deserved a goal it was Wayne," Dowie said after the match. "I know he's capable of scoring goals like that. He scored two goals in pre-season which were two of the best strikes I've ever seen."

Boyce's goal came 32 minutes later when the right back forced the ball over the line following good work by Andrews and Jobi McAnuff.

Palace's football flowed only intermittently, but Andrews, McAnuff, Freedman and Morrison were always a threat and Coventry's fightback petered out after the second goal. Freedman's artistry regularly opened up the visiting defence and Morrison was usually on the end of Palace's best attacks.

Micky Adams, the Coventry manager, said Palace's strikers were the difference between the sides. "We played well in patches but you can't afford to give Palace a goal start," he said.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Boyce, Hall, Ward, Borrowdale; Andrews (Leigertwood, 79), Watson, Soares, McAnuff (Black, 87); Freedman (Macken, 75), Morrison. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Hudson.

Coventry City (3-5-2): Fulop; Page, Shaw (Impey, 84), Heath; Duffy, Scowcroft, Doyle, Jorgensen (Thornton, 69), Hall; McSheffrey, Adebola (Morrell, 69). Substitutes not used: Ince (gk), Whing.

Referee: A D'Urso (Essex).