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Match Reports

Town v Crystal Palace

25 August 2015

Town 1 Crystal Palace 4

Town: Jayson Leutwiler, Matt Tootle, Mat Sadler, Ryan Woods, Jermaine Grandison, Liam Lawrence (c) (James Wesolowski 90), James Collins (Shaun Whalley 102), Junior Brown, Mark Ellis, Abu Ogogo, Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro (Tyrone Barnett 86)

Subs: Mark Halstead, Martin Woods, Liam McAlinden, Jordan Clark

Crystal Palace: Wayne Hennessey, Joel Ward (Pape Souare 46), Adrian Mariappa, Brede Hangeland, Patrick Bamford (Glenn Murray 74), Wilfried Zaha, Chung-yong Lee, Mile Jedinak (c) (Jordon Mutch 50), Dwight Gayle, Joe Ledley, Martin Kelly

Subs: Alex McCarthy, Scott Dann, Jason Puncheon, Sullay Kaikai

Ref: D Bond
Assistants: W Ball and D Avent

Fourth Official: F Graham

Attendance: 10,978 (with 735 Salopians)

Micky Mellon makes three changes to the side that played at Oldham with Liam Lawrence, Junior Brown and Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro coming into the starting line-up. For Palace Alan Pardew makes nine changes to his side as he looks to give some of the fringe players a run out in the Capital One Cup. Though to put it into perspective eight of those on the pitch are full internationals.

When the game kicked off it looked as if Town had returned to the 3-5-2 formation that they had done so well with last season. Mat Sadler was moved into the centre-back three alongside Grandison and Ellis, Junior Brown was on the left of the midfield five and Tootle on the right.

The opening exchanges saw Palace have a lot of the ball as they looked to use their home advantage to get at the visitors. They had a lot of the play but Town were doing well to get into their positions and snuff out the Palace attacks.

Town were looking lively when they got ball down and attacked the home side, Lawrence and Woods in the middle were doing well to keep possession and allow Town to play.

It was Town who got their noses in front just before the 10 minute mark and and it was a lovely worked move. Town got the ball down and played it around the Palace box looking for the opening, it came to Woods who paused and then played it to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro just inside the box, he then played the ball in behind the Palace defence into the run of Matt Tootle and he drove a lovely shot back across goal that beat Hennessey and nestled into the far corner to make it 1-0 to Town.

Palace had a number of attacking options but the one who was catching the eye in the opening exchanges was Wilfried Zaha. His pace was causing a number of problems for the Town defence but they were working hard to double up and get in the way to stop the danger.

Palace were having the lions share of the possession but Town were also doing their far share of attacking. The were patient in the build up but when they got to the edge of the Palace box were looking to get the ball in behind the defence. This nearly paid off when a ball once again put Tootle in on goal, Hennessey was quickly out to cut out, and then shows a calmness to cut the ball back under pressure from Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro and then come and clear the danger.

Just before the break Palace got a chance to get on level terms and it came from Zaha bursting in to the box again. It was a debatable one as Zaha tried to push through the Town defence when there wasn't really the space to do so, he bundled his way past Ellis to get into some space and with Agogo behind him went to ground with ref Bond having no hesitation in pointing to the spot. It was Dwight Gayle who placed the ball and calmly stroked the ball the opposite way to Leutwiler's dive to make it 1-1.

Half-time: 1-1

The second half started with no changes to the Town side but Palace made their first change with Pape Souare on to replace Joel Ward, and minutes later injury forced the home side into a second change with Jordan Mutch on for the injured Mile Jedinak.

Town were doing well to keep possession and patiently look for the openings, Grandison picked the ball up in his own half under pressure, he popped in a couple of step overs and was away, he kept going and threaded a ball into the feet of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro, he took the ball to the edge of the box and hit in a shot that was deflected behind for a Town corner.

At the other end Palace put pressure on the Town box and Zaha took on Woods, he went to ground under the challenge but ref Bond saw nothing wrong and the ball dropped to Bamford in space in front of the Town goal but luckily he skewed his shot well over the target.

Leutwiler had had little to do in the second half but when Zaha found space down the middle to take the game to Town the keeper was alert, Zaha powered forward looking for options and then threaded a ball in behind the Town defence but Leutwiler was quickly out to slide in and smoother the ball.

Town were creating chances of their own and Junior Brown did well after cutting in from the left, he skipped past a could of challenges to take the ball to the edge of the box, he flicked it to Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro who got in down left hand side of the box and whipped an inviting ball across the face of goal but Mariappa was there to turn it behind for a Town corner before Tootle could pounce.

Town's first booking of the game came with less than 15 minutes remaining, Woods lost possession just in side the Town half and Zaha was down the middle, Woods got back to challenge and put in strong shoulder, Zaha kept on his feet and kept going but then went to ground in the box, ref Bond called play back for the challenge by Woods and produced the yellow card for the Town number 4.

Micky Mellon made his first switch of the game on 86 minutes bringing on Tyrone Barnett to replace Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro in a straight swap.

Both sides were finishing with an attacking flourish, first it was Town with Brown doing well to get in down the left and put in a cross towards the head of Agogo, it was cleared by a Palace head but only as far as Lawrence on the edge of the box but the ball bobbled up and the chance was gone. Then it was Palace's turn with Gayle found space on the edge of the Town box, he smashed in a good looking shot that beat Leutwiler but hit the bar.

Full-time: 1-1

So it was onto 30 minutes of added time with Town very much still in the tie.

Extra time started with a second Town change with James Wesolowski coming on to replace Liam Lawrence.

Palace were awarded a second penalty minutes in added time, Glen Murray broke into the Town box with Mat Sadler in close proximity, Sads' had his hand on Murray as the forward turned and when he went to ground ref Bond was once again pointing to the spot. It was Murray who placed the ball and made no mistake calmly powering the ball past the dive of Leutwiler.

Within minutes it was 3-1 to Palace after Chung-yong Lee found space on the edge of the Town box, he cut past his markers and into the box before firing in a low shot that beat Leutwiler.

Micky Mellon made his final change just before the end of the first period of added time with Shaun Whalley coming on to replace James Collins. Whalley was looking to make an instant impact and when he turned his marker just inside the Palace half he was in on goal, he took the ball forward towards goal and had Barnett as an option to his right but elected to shot but got well under the shot and shanked it over the target.

Extra time half-time: 1-3

There was some concern on the Town bench when Ellis and Murray tussled for the ball, both went to ground and it looked like Ellis arm got caught under Murray and he looked in pain. Skitty came on to attend and after a while Ellis was ok to get to his feet and carry on, though he looked a little uncomfortable.

With Town chasing the game looking to get back in the game they were leaving space and midway through the second period Palace got a fourth goal, Pape Souare found the space down the Town left and then crossed an inviting ball to find Zaha in the space to flick a header past Leutwiler to make it 4-1.

Town were still going and still trying to create chances and they got a decent one when Whalley got into the box and found the space to get in behind the Palace defence, he drove in a low ball across goal to try and find Wesolowski but it was cut out for a Town corner. The corner came over but was cleared, but only as far as Whalley, he put a lovely ball to the back post that Ellis nodded back into the danger area but Palace managed to clear before Wesolowski could get his shot in.

With the final whistle approaching Matt Tootle got into space behind the Palace defence and it looked dangerous, he drove in on goal and tried to curl the ball into the far corner with the outside of his foot but got too much on it and it was wide of the target.

Extra-time full-time: 1-4

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