Palace pay the penalty for Jordan's incendiary remarks

Crystal Palace 0 - Charlton Athletic 1
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The Independent Football

On the day the Crystal Palace owner, Simon Jordan, labelled his fellow Premiership chairmen as "tossers" and called all agents "nasty scum", it is difficult to imagine the insults he had frothing in his mouth in readiness for his players last night.

As if watching Andy Johnson's penalty being saved was not bad enough, then Dennis Rommedahl's winner with three seconds left on the clock, on one of Charlton's few forays upfield, must have been hard to swallow even for someone of Jordan's oral girth.

The outspoken 36-year-old unleashed his comments in a Sunday newspaper and they must have made for an interesting atmosphere in the boardroom with his south-east London neighbours yesterday before an encounter that had all the geography to class it as a derby but, alas, little of the intensity.

Indeed, a wretched game did not deserve anything as substantial as a goal but the Dane's first for the club moved Charlton into the top 10 and left Palace deep in the relegation mire. "The Premiership can be a cruel place and Palace found that out today," said the Charlton manager, Alan Curbishley.

No one would have agreed more than Johnson, who would have taken his Premiership tally into double figures if Dean Kiely's outstretched left hand had not parried away his well-struck penalty on the hour mark, and who would dearly have loved to score in front of the England manager in the stands, Sven Goran Eriksson.

Kiely revealed afterwards that Steve Gritt, the Charlton academy director, has a dossier on all the division's penalty takers and told him where Johnson would place it, although this was unlikely to serve as much of a consolation to the leading Englishman in the Premiership goalscoring charts.

"Of course he's gutted, we all are," said Kit Symons, the assistant Palace manager. "We were ready to walk off the pitch with a 0-0 draw. And we would have been disappointed with that. So you can imagine how we feel now, but AJ's a big boy - he'll bounce back."

Appropriately, Selhurst Park has been the place for "bouncebackability" this season, Iain Dowie coining an already well-established word in the football lexicon, although the Palace manager was not able to bounce back to his talkative self in time to attend the post-match press conference. He could be excused that little fit of pique because the manner of defeat was as difficult to stomach as the standard of the fare.

If anything the first half was worse than the second, Aki Riihilahti's header against the bar off a beauty of a Joonas Kolkka cross a minute before the break the sole highlight in 45 minutes of lowlights. At least there was more to trouble the scorers as the clock ran down, first Johnson's penalty after a quite unnecessary hack down by Talal El-Karkouri as the all-action striker chased on to Ben Watson's through ball, and then Johnson went clear again 10 minutes later, only for El-Karkouri to pull off his challenge correctly this time.

In the final 10 minutes that man Johnson was to the fore once more when he tried to snap a shot inside Kiely's near post, but it was the same left hand of the Republic of Ireland international that metaphorically smacked the 23-year-old in the face for a second time. The Palace faithful turned the volume down as they started to accept that a point was all they would be getting from an instantly forgettable afternoon. But then with the whistle pursed to Matt Messias's lips, Rommedahl latched on to a Danny Murphy pass, then took advantage of Danny Granville's hesitation to skip around him and fire a right-footer past Gabor Kiraly's despairing dive.

It was more than Charlton deserved and definitely less than poor Palace deserved.

Goal: Rommedahl (90) 1-0.

Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Kiraly; Boyce, Popovic, Hall, Granville; Routledge, Riihilahti (Freedman, 86), Hughes, Watson, Kolkka (Lakis, 76); Johnson. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Leigertwood, Andrews.

Charlton Athletic (4-5-1): Kiely; Young, El-Karkouri, Fortune, Hreidarsson; Thomas, Murphy, Holland, Kishishev, Johansson (Rommedahl, 20); Bartlett (Jeffers, 77). Substitutes not used: Euell, Andersen, Konchesky.

Referee: M Messias (S Yorkshire).

Booked: Crystal Palace: Watson, Riihilahti. Charlton: Murphy, Kishishev, El-Karkouri.

Man of the match: Kiely.

Attendance: 20,705.