Bristol City's need for points is not as desperate as Crystal Palace's, but a second-half strike by Chris Iwelumo brought welcome relief for Gary Johnson's team at Selhurst Park last night. City had not scored an away goal since Boxing Day and had won just one of their previous nine Championship matches, but deserved to beat a struggling Crystal Palace team.
Having made a promising start to his reign as Palace manager with victory against Sheffield United three days earlier, Paul Hart will now appreciate the size of his task in keeping the club in this division. Palace are out of the relegation zone only on goal difference.
Hart's new charges looked desperately short of inspiration and barely created a chance other than a header from Alan Lee that flew past a post early in the second half.
There was an admirable determination in the way City got men behind the ball and denied Palace space in which to play. The visitors threw men forward when they had possession and always looked the more threatening team in attack. However, two long-range efforts by Bradley Orr were the closest City had come to scoring until Iwelumo broke the deadlock when he hooked a loose ball into the net with a fine right-foot volley from 12 yards.
Johnson revealed that five minutes earlier he had told his striker, who is on loan from Wolves, that he would be substituted unless he could produce a moment of magic. "That's Premiership quality for you," Johnson said.
Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Speroni; Butterfield, Lawrence, Hill, Clyne; Andrew, Ertl, Derry, Carle (John, 81), Ambrose (Danns, 67); Lee. Substitutes not used: Manns (gk), Scannell, Hills, Djilali, N'Diaye.
Bristol City (4-4-2): Gerken; Orr, Carey, Nyatanga, Fontaine; Campbell-Ryce, Johnson, Skuse, Hartley; Iwelumo (Akinde, 86), Maynard (McAllister, 90). Substitutes not used: Henderson (gk), Clarkson, Williams, Sproule, Haynes.
Referee: M Russell (Hertfordshire).Reuse content