Kabba, such a threat with his pace and direct running that the cheers had turned to boos within 10 minutes, laid on the first, but it was Shipperley who got the decisive third. Left unmarked, he met David Unsworth's cross at the back post with a firm downward header. The ball squeezed between Gabor Kiraly's legs, and although the Hungarian reacted sharply to scoop it back, the referee, Iain Williamson, after consulting with his linesman, decided the ball had crossed the line.
"Gabor says it wasn't a goal," said the Palace manager, Iain Dowie. "The interesting reaction was from the linesman: he's run 15 yards down the line and only then waved his flag. There's no way he could see because Gabor's body was in the way." Television replays were inconclusive, but suggested the ball probably was a fraction over.
The United manager, Neil Warnock, not surprisingly, was convinced the referee had got it right. "I thought he had a magnificent game," he said. "We think it was well over. Ships says it was a yard in - but his eyes are going."
United's first, scored two minutes after Dougie Freedman had struck a post, itself only just crossed the line. Phil Jagielka's shot, cannoning off the far post, traversed virtually the whole eight yards of the line before it drifted over. Michael Hughes's equaliser in the final minute of the first half was rapidly cancelled out by Paul Ifill, and Freedman's late penalty was little consolation.
"That was the best result of the season because of who we were playing," Warnock went on. "We showed great spirit to keep rallying, but I'm glad to be the 20 points we are in front of them because they'll be close at the end of the season."
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