Newell's new boys take Palace by storm
CRYSTAL PALACE 1
LUTON TOWN 2
Monday 08 August 2005
After coming so close to preserving their Premiership status at the end of last season, Iain Dowie's team are one of the favourites for promotion from the Championship. The fact that there have been no mass departures, with the leading scorer,Andy Johnson, defying all expectations by signing a new contract, looks to have strengthened Palace's chances of repeating their feat of two seasons ago, when they went up after a storming late run in Dowie's first season.
After Saturday's opening-day defeat at Selhurst Park, however, Hughes, sounded a note of caution. "I'm not too sure how much that experience of two seasons ago will stand us in good stead," he said. "I think this league has got better since then. The pressures for us are different this season because we're expected to bounce straight back, but it's going to be tough."
Momentum from the end of one season often continues into the next - as these sides showed. Palace won only seven League matches last season and totalled just 33 points. Luton won 29 matches and amassed 98 points as they won promotion from League One.
Mike Newell, the Luton manager, has spent sparingly and is keen to give a chance to those players who did so well last season. They did not disappoint him. Despite having to reorganise following injuries to Marlon Beresford, Sol Davis and Chris Coyne - the latter was hurt in the pre-match warm-up - Luton created many chances and would have won more comfortably but for some wasteful finishing, including a missed penalty by Kevin Nicholls.
Palace were regularly pulled apart at the back and their forwards rarely troubleda defence in which Curtis Davies was outstanding. Johnson's scrambled equaliser offered hope after Steven Howard's headed opener, but Ahmet Brkovic capitalised on indecision to hit the deserved winner.
"I don't know how far these lads can go, though I think the Premier League might be a bit beyond them," Newell said. "But we've shown today that we might be able to compete."
Goals: Howard (44) 0-1; Johnson (52) 1-1; Brkovic (79) 1-2.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Boyce, Hall, Hudson (Ward, 84), Borrowdale; Soares (Kolkka, 62), Watson, Hughes, McAnuff; Johnson, Macken (Andrews, 84). Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Leigertwood.
Luton Town (4-4-2): Brill; Foley, Davies, Heikkinen, Underwood; Brkovic (Showunmi, 88), Robinson, Nicholls, Morgan (Holmes, 71); Howard, Feeney. Substitutes not used: Seremet (gk), Vine, Perrett.
Referee: P Dowd (Staffordshire).
Booked: Crystal Palace Hughes, Hudson; Luton Town Underwood, Foley.
Man of the match: Davies.
Latest in Sport
Angel Di Maria reveals wish to return to Argentina - but don't worry Manchester United fans...
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Husain Abdullah penalised after celebrating a touchdown with a Muslim prayer - causing mass outrage among fans
Robin van Persie reveals Louis van Gaal wants Manchester United to 'be more Dutch and pull on the same rope'
Manchester United risk Uefa row over plan to play lucrative midweek friendlies
- 1 Five-year-old Iris Grace is raising awareness of autism through her extraordinary paintings
- 2 HeForShe campaign: Iceland to follow up Emma Watson speech with UN women's rights conference – for men only
- 3 Car tax disc changes: Two days to go - and they affect you much more than just not displaying a piece of paper
- 4 Teenagers irritable because early school hours mess with their biological clocks
- 5 Now we know whose fault it is if you end up being murdered in Thailand
Isis, we are told, is a 'clear and dangerous threat to our way of life'. I’m sorry, but I just don’t buy it
Exclusive: 'Putin's Russia has been my biggest regret,' says Nato's outgoing Secretary General
The Osborne Ultimatum: Chancellor’s benefits freeze bombshell will affect ten million households
There’s no excuse for Dave Lee Travis’s behaviour, but we need to keep a sense of proportion
Mark Reckless becomes second Tory MP to defect to Ukip in a month
Should gay sex be illegal? 16% of Britons think so