Match Report: Glenn Murray helps Crystal Palace romp to home win over Middlesbrough

Crystal Palace 
4-1  Middlesbrough

When these teams met in the first month of the season,
Crystal Palace slumped to a third successive defeat and there were serious
concerns about where they were heading. That nadir in their fortunes seems even
farther away now after another comfortable victory inspired by the relentless
and reliable Glenn Murray.

Murray added two more to his vast tally of goals as Palace made nonsense of the fact that their lead over yesterday’s opponents was as close as two points at the start of play. Although Middlesbrough reduced the arrears late on it was a token effort which the home side immediately answered at the other end to underline why Tony Mowbray’s team have come off second best in every league fixture in 2013 before the narrow win over Leeds last Tuesday. 

Yet Ian Holloway revealed afterwards that it took a half-time rollicking to deliver a second-half performance from which he could derive true satisfaction. “I wasn’t happy at half-time and told them they were boring me,” he said. “We were not quick enough or sharp enough, we were too laborious. I want us to show the same energy that I have and I don’t yet know the best way to get what I want from them.”

He suggests there is more to come from his team, who rose to fourth on the back of this win,  and certainly Palace fans will be relishing the prospect of what can be produced once Stephen Dobbie – described as a “beautiful artist” by his manager – is fully integrated.

With Wilfried Zaha choosing the presence of England manager Roy Hodgson to produce what Holloway called his best performance during his reign Palace were unstoppable and hardly needed  the assistance lent to them by the poverty of the visitors’ defending.  

Faris Haroun failed to clear cleanly in the ninth minute and invited Zaha to create havoc. Andrew Halliday tried to assist Haroun in making up for the error but two defenders proved incapable of stopping the cross which fell to Murray at the far post for an easy finish.

He should have had two more before the break, first failing to connect properly with Zaha’s centre  and then heading over when the Manchester United signing put his next  cross in the air.

Boro were incapable of making the same inroads, lacking cohesion and energy despite the best efforts of Grant Leadbitter. Peter Ramage cleared off the line from Haroun and Josh McEachran wafted a golden opportunity over the bar but any suggestion that they could haul themselves back into the contest was not sustained. 

Mowbray offered no excuses but felt the energy exerted in the defeat of Leeds took a heavy toll. Boro’s defending was again awry for the second goal as a corner was needlessly conceded, Murray was left alone to meet the delivery and Ramage spun impressively to score for the second time in successive games.

Anything that Boro failed to clear left them liable for punishment. In the 57 minute Murray seized on a loose ball, took a couple of strides and unleashed a drive of such venom that Jason Steele was powerless to keep out. Astonishingly it took his total to 27 goals in 30 appearances.

Haroun’s solitary reply was unexpected though Kevin Phillips quickly restored the three-goal margin after Zaha had set him up. Two goals in three appearances as substitute underlines the enduring value of the 39-year-old and like Dobbie his experience could just tip the balance in the final weeks of the season.

“Let’s gallop towards the finishing line,” Holloway implored, “let’s try and get another 14 wins. You have to aim for the stars.”

Crystal Palace (4-4-1-1): Speroni; Richards, Delaney, Ramage, Parr; Zaha, Dikgacoi (Butterfield 76), Jedinak, J. Williams (Phillips 71); Dobbie (Bolasie 81); Murray.

Subs: Price, Wilbraham, Moxey, O'Keefe.

Middlesbrough (4-4-2): Steele; Parnaby (Dyer 58), Bikey, Friend, Halliday; McEachran (Bailey 59), R. Williams, Leadbitter, Haroun; Jutkiewicz (Miller 59), Carayol.

Subs: Leutwiler, McManus, Emnes, Ledesma.

Man of the Match: Dobbie

Match Rating: 7/10

Referee: O. Langford (West Midlands)

Arts and Entertainment
arts + entsWith one of the best comic roles around, it's no wonder she rarely bothers with films
News
people
News
i100
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
News
i100
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
News
i100
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup