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Match Reports

Crystal Palace 2 Rovers 0

3 November 2012

Crystal Palace 2 Rovers 0

Rovers lost their first game of the season on their travels going down 2-0 to Crystal Palace.

Henning Berg's side were no match for a lively Palace side who dominated for long spells at Selhurst Park.

Both sides rattled the woodwork in the first half, Dickson Etuhu for Rovers, Yannick Bolasie for Palace, but it was the home side's top scorer Glenn Murray who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half time, heading in off the underside of the bar from Owen Garvan's centre.

Palace grabbed a second in fortunate circumstances on 65 minutes from the penalty spot after Grant Hanley was adjudged to have hauled Murray to the ground. The Palace man making no mistake from 12 yards for his second of the game.

Murray then had a chance for a third when another soft penalty decision went in their favour but Paul Robinson saved twice to prevent a hat-trick.

Rovers rallied late on with substitutes Simon Vukcevic and Ruben Rochina threatening Julian Speroni's goal, the Spaniard smacking the woodwork with a sensational effort that bounced away to safety.

But those were rare opportunities for Rovers who failed to impress the new man in charge, Berg will know he has work to do ahead of Tuesday's match at Huddersfield Town.

For his first game in charge Henning Berg made four changes from the side that defeated Watford seven days earlier.

Is hand was forced somewhat by injuries to Jason Lowe and Gael Givet as Danny Murphy and Martin Olsson returned. Adam Henley and Markus Olsson preferred to Bradley Orr and Ruben Rochina who both dropped to the bench.

Berg's task not helped by a late injury in training on Friday that prevented Nuno Gomes from featuring in the 18-man squad.

For the home side, who confirmed Ian Holloway as their new manager on the morning of the match, they kept faith with the same side that had impressed in the 2-1 away win at Leicester City last week.

The home side set the tone for the first half early on with a threat from the flanks after just six minutes. Yannick Bolasie teasing the Rovers back line with a dangerous ball into the box that Scott Dann had to steer away from goal.

On the other side highly-rated Wilfred Zaha tested Adam Henley on his first start of the season, the young Welshman standing up well to the fleet-footed wideman.

Palace continued to force the pace with Damien Delaney going close with a header from a Garvan corner. The central defender finding space to head at the back post, Paul Robinson alert to push the ball aside.

Rovers rarely threatened in the first half yet it was they who rattled the wood on 26 minutes with their first corner of the game, Morten Gamst Pedersen delivering from the left, Dickson Etuhu heading smack against the crossbar.

But that effort was a rare one as the home side continued to dominate. A cross from Bolasie merited better after he got the better of Martin Olsson before Owen Gavan fired over after more good work from Zaha.

On 41 minutes it was Palace's turn to hit the woodwork. Zaha again with a ball from the left to Bolasie who heads against the post, the ball bouncing back into the arms of Robinson.

Just when it looked like Rovers had weathered the first half storm the home side got the goal their play deserved. Again the Palace wide men were afforded far too much time and space and as Owen Garvan crossed from the right Glenn Murray ghosted in front of Scott Dann to head home via the crossbar.

Henning Berg chose not to make any changes at the break but wasted little time in doing so after the restart. Just 8 minutes after the turnaround the Norwegian made his first substitution replacing the subdued Colin Kazim-Richards for Ruben Rochina.

Then despite Morten Gamst Pedersen forcing Julian Speroni into his first save of the game, he made way soon after with Mauro Formica coming on in an attempt to shore up the right.

But any chance of an unlikely way back went when the home side were awarded a soft penalty on 65 minutes.

Palace dangerman Glenn Murray got in front of Grant Hanley but then went to ground in the box, referee Lee Probert delighting the home fans by pointing to the spot.

Paul Robinson had saved the only other penalty conceded against Rovers this season but he had no chance on this occasion, diving the opposite direction as Murray stroked the ball home.

Six minutes later and Palace were again awarded a dubious penalty, this time it was Adam Henley the unfortunate culprit as Yannick Bolasie went to ground.

Murray stepped up with the chance of a hat-trick but this time Robinson saved his effort down the middle and then did brilliantly to save not once, but twice, to deny the Palace striker.

Simon Vukcevic became Rovers' third and final change on 72 minutes. The Montenegrin on for a tiring Markus Olsson for only his second appearance of the season. He would have a rare Rovers' effort at goal but his attempted shot slammed into the side-netting.

Fellow sub Ruben Rochina then went even closer with a sublime effort on 82 minutes. The Spaniard advancing from a short corner to let fly from 20 yards only to see his thunderbolt crash off the frame of the goal and away.

With Palace content to soak up any pressure Rovers could offer they saw out the remaining minutes with ease to register their 11th game unbeaten.

Rovers need a response and quickly as they face Huddersfield Town on Tuesday night.

PALACE: Speroni, Ward, Ramage, Delaney, Parr, Jedinak (c), Dikgacoi, Bolasie, Garvan, Zaha (sub Moxey 90 mins), Murray

Subs not used: Price (GK), Blake, Wilbraham, Easter, Moritz, O'Keefe.

Goals: Murray 45, 65 mins.

Booked: None.

ROVERS: Robinson, Henley, Dann, Hanley, Martin Olsson, Pedersen (sub Formica 59 mins), Etuhu, Murphy, Markus Olsson (sub Vukcevic 72 mins), Kazim-Richards (sub Rochina 54 mins), Rhodes.

Subs not used: Kean (GK), Orr, Ribeiro, Rosado.

Goals: None.

Booked: None.

Attendance: 16,744

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