Palace brought down by Booth

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The Independent Online
Huddersfield Town 3 Crystal Palace 0

When Crystal Palace were scouring the country last summer for a centre- forward to replace Chris Armstrong, Huddersfield's Andrew Booth was one of those who drew their attention. Saturday's match at the Alfred McAlpine Stadium must have left Palace wondering how they would have fared in this troubled season had they recruited Booth, rather than Gareth Taylor, who sat on the substitutes' bench and was not required even when his team were three goals down.

The 22-year-old Booth is in the mould of the classic English centre-forward. His bold, no-nonsense style has already brought him 53 goals from 115 appearances, as well as England Under-21 honours. Taylor, in contrast, has scored just twice in 21 games since his pounds 1.6m move from Bristol Rovers.

Booth was the chief destroyer as Huddersfield ripped Palace apart with three goals in the first half. Ben Thornley, on loan from Manchester United, was a constant threat on Palace's right flank, while Booth and the unsung Ronnie Jepson had the visitors' defence on the run from the start, as Huddersfield underlined their promotion credentials.

Dave Bassett, the Palace manager, described his team's performance as "brain dead", but he might also consider his own part in their downfall. Palace were unbeaten in 10 matches and although some changes were enforced by suspensions, it was surely unwise to move Andy Roberts out of defence and into midfield. Palace's three central defenders comprised Tony Gale and the Norwegian Leif Andersson, with only a handful of Palace appearances between them, and Dean Gordon, a left-back.

Palace looked anything but promotion material, but fortunes can change rapidly in this division and they have the chance to get back on track tomorrow when they start a run of six games at home and two away in 26 days by entertaining Birmingham.

Goals: Booth (12) 1-0; Jepson (pen 34) 2-0; Makel (44) 3-0.

Huddersfield Town (4-4-2): Francis; Jenkins, Sinnott, Gray, Cowan; Collins (Dunn, 68), Bullock, Makel, Thornley; Booth, Jepson. Substitutes not used: Rowe, Reid.

Crystal Palace (5-2-3): Martyn; Edworthy, Gale, Andersson, Gordon, Rodger (Boere, h-t); Roberts, Houghton; Hopkin, Freedman, Ndah (Davies, 61). Substitute not used: Taylor.

Referee: T E West (Louth).

Bookings: Huddersfield: Bullock. Crystal Palace: Gale, Hopkin.

Man of the match: Booth. Attendance: 13,041.

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