Dikgacoi has head for heights

Crystal Palace 1 Birmingham City 0

Selhurst Park

A rare goal from Kagisho Dikgacoi lifted Crystal Palace to within touching distance of the play-offs and left Birmingham City still playing catch-up with the Championship also-rans.

Just two points and as many places separate the Eagles from sixth-place Leeds thanks to the South African's 84th-minute header, which is good going for a side that had failed to register a single Championship goal in November.

Yet Palace remain vulnerable to predators and Dougie Freedman, the manager, admitted Darren Ambrose, who supplied the cross, could be the subject of a bid next month, as could defender Nathaniel Clyne, who has yet to agree a new contract. "In January I will try to turn my phone off," Freedman said. "There haven't been any offers but it's only December."

Even Wilfried Zaha, although suspended for this match, could soon be on his way although a new five-and-a-half-year deal ensures that Newcastle, or any other Premier League suitor, would have to pay a sizeable fee to lure the 19-year-old away.

City, who now find themselves becalmed in 14th place, settled the quicker although Marton King, their lone striker, fired one effort high and wide before Curtis Davies was also off target at the back post after Guirane N'Daw had headed on a corner.

Mile Jedinak responded with a long-range effort that forced Boaz Myhill into a diving save but the half ended goalless thanks to David Murphy's perfectly-timed tackle in his own box on Clyne, who had been sent sprinting towards the City goal by Sean Scannell's back-heel.

Palace were by far the better side after the break and it became a question of whether they could find a goal in time. Myhill, the Birmingham goalkeeper, denied them for a while, palming away a Jedinak header from six yards and diving bravely at the feet of other attackers.

A header from Paddy McCarthy, the captain, that rebounded off a post and substitute Jermaine Easter forced another save, this time at his near post but although Birmingham cleared their lines again – just – from the corner, the winning goal was on its way.

Ambrose crossed from the right and Dikgacoi timed his run to perfection to power a header that Myhill, at last, was unable to stop.

Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Speroni; Clyne, McCarthy, Gardner, Parr; Ambrose (Andrew, 87), Dikgacoi, Jedinak; Murray, Martin (Easter, 77), Scannell (Ramage, 90). Substitutes not used Fitzsimmons (gk), Garvan.

Birmingham City (4-5-1): Myhill; Carr, Caldwell, Davies, Murphy; Burke, N'Daw (Elliott, 81), Spector, Fahey, Redmond (Wood, 83); King (Zigic, 70). Substitutes not used Doyle (gk), Ibañez.

Referee K Stroud (Dorset).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Stiller as Derek Zoolander in the leaked trailer for Zoolander 2
film
Sport
footballArsenal take the Community Shield thanks to a sensational strike from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Arts and Entertainment
Gemma Chan as synth Anita in Humans
film
News
Keeping it friendly: Tom Cruise on ‘The Daily Show’ with Jon Stewart
people
Arts and Entertainment
Ensemble cast: Jamie McCartney with ‘The Great Wall of Vagina’
artBritish artist Jamie McCartney explains a work that is designed to put women's minds at rest
News
Republican Presidential Candidate Donald Trump
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen