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Crystal Palace v Norwich City – 1st January 2014

Crystal Palace v Norwich City – 1st January 2014

Crystal Palace v Norwich City action

Palace dropped into the Premier League relegation zone after an absorbing draw with 10-man Norwich at a rain-soaked Selhurst Park.

In trying conditions, a tight first half came to life as Bradley Johnson curled in an opener for the Canaries.

Marouane Chamakh should have been sent off soon after for a push, before Jason Puncheon equalised with a penalty.

Gary Hooper and Cameron Jerome wasted good chances after the break, as Leroy Fer was dismissed for a second booking.

When manager Tony Pulis began life at Palace with a 1-0 defeat at Norwich on 30 November,his side sat bottom of the table with only seven points from 13 games.

Their subsequent resurgence had brought three wins from six matches and hauled them out of the bottom three – but the draw with the Canaries and Fulham’s 2-1 victory over West Ham has seen them drop back to 18th.

Nor did the result do much for Norwich’s hopes of pulling away from danger, and they remain without a top-flight win since 7 December.

The game – preceded by a minute’s applause for former Palace chairman Ron Noades, who died of cancer on Christmas Eve aged 76 – began in a very strong wind, although the heavy rain that had threatened the game prior to kick-off relented slightly.

But conditions were no excuse as Palace winger Puncheon embarrassingly miscued a volley, before captain Mile Jedinak did rather better from a free-kick, shooting narrowly over.

Jerome then inexplicably skied an effort when unmarked at the back post after Puncheon had latched onto a slack pass by Canaries defender Sebastien Bassong and picked him out.

But with the rain teeming down again with 10 minutes of the first half remaining, the match came to life.

Against the run of play, Norwich scored the opener as Hooper stole the ball off a hesitant Danny Gabbidon and squared to the onrushing Johnson, who slotted in a measured shot from the edge of the area for his second goal of the season.

Ruffled by that setback, Palace striker Chamakh was lucky to escape with a booking after flooring Wes Hoolahan with a push to the face.

As the hosts rallied, Martin Olsson headed a Jerome header off the line and from the ensuing corner Fer bundled over Jedinak and referee Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Puncheon stepped up to equalise.

Chamakh should have seen red – Hughton

Olsson went close for Norwich with a low shot immediately after the break, before Jerome was wasteful again as he shot over when well-placed after England goalkeeper John Ruddy flapped at a corner.

Only Fulham have conceded more top-flight goals than Norwich, and Palace continued to test the visitors’ defence as Puncheon tested Ruddy twice after cutting in from the right.

The Canaries retained a threat of their own, however, and Hooper went close to what would have been a sixth goal in 10 games after a smart turn-and-shot from the edge of the box.

Visiting substitute Johan Elmander was then left bloodied after catching a Jedinak elbow as the pair jumped for a header, before a wild tackle on Jedinak saw Fer dismissed for a second booking.

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis:

“I think [referee] Mike Dean did really well to get the game on. I have played in worse conditions, but they were difficult today.

“I thought we controlled the game better in the second half. You need a bit of quality to win games, but maybe we needed a bit more patience and time.

“We will hopefully bring one or two more in this January with a bit of quality, but the same desire, as the players we already have.”

Norwich manager Chris Hughton:

“By the time we got the goal, it was likely to be us who created something. Almost certainly [Chamakh should have been sent off], by the letter of the law a push in the face is a sending off.

“We felt we had a real opportunity. The conditions were very difficult.

“At any stage before the sending off, we felt we could win it.”

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