Crystal Palace v Sheffield Wednesday 1/11/08
CRYSTAL PALACE 1 v 1 SHEFFIELD WEDNESDAY
Welcome to this afternoon's game at Selhurst Park as the Eagles go in search of their first win in three.
After Tuesday's disappointing defeat here to Forest Neil Warnock has rung the changes - switching to 4-4-2 with four alterations to the starting line-up from Tuesday.
At the back Rhoys Wiggins is replaced by Clint Hill and the injured Danny Butterfield by Jose Fonte - meaning Matt Lawrence will revert to right-back. In the middle Nick Carle and Victor Moses are dropped to the bench, with John Oster and Shefki Kuqi starting - the latter upfront with Criag Beattie.
Palace: Speroni, Lawrence, McCarthy, Fonte, Hill, Oster, Derry, Ben Watson, Ifill, Beattie, Kuqi. Subs: Carle, Moses, Scannell, Andrew, Ertl.
Wednesday: Grant, Spurr, Steve Watson, Tudgay, McAllister, Esajas, Beevers, Wood, O'Connor, Clarke, Buxton. Subs: Gilbert, Jeffers, Burton, Johnson, Sodje.
The weather is terrible again today, cold, windy and rainy and that will surely play a part again.
Two questions on everyone's lips today: Is Eagles communications supremo Terry Byfield wearing a coat and what on earth has happened to Sean Scannell's hair?
Well I can confirm Byfield, who never wears a coat, is wearing one for the second game in a row - that's how bad conditions are - and as for Scannell's hair, well he seems to have done away with the corn rows and now has a kind of tied-back afro. It's interesting but might give him extra height when going to head the ball I suppose!
Anyway enough about that - that's get on to the football now as Palace get us off and under way.
1 min: Early chance for Watson as he outmuscles Esajas on the edge of Wednesday's box but his dipping half volley goes wide.
5 min: I may have been too presumptious in saying it was 4-4-2, it's not. Beattie is wide on the left with Oster playing in the middle with Watson and Derry so it's 4-3-3 again.
6 min: GOAL! Wednesday lead. Wood's free-kick finds Buxton outwide and he crosses for McAllister to flick it bakc neatly into Clarke's path and he shoots low from 10 yards past Speroni. Good goal, poor marking from Palace though.
12 min: Palace relying a little bit on the long ball game again at the second and Wednesday are looking the hungrier. As I say that Ifill's cross loops up off a defender and finds Kuqi but it more hits his head than anything else and goes wide.
15 min: Speroni's free-kick form inside his own half is nodded back across goal but no one gets hear it.
20 min: Very quiet in Selhurst right now probably because there is not much going on on the pitch and Palace have been poor. The ball has been in the air a lot but not much else.
23 min: Fonte misjudges a long-kick by Grant and Clarke almost gets in but for Speroni. Unrest amongst the crowd now as Palace continually give the ball away.
28 min: Fonte wins a free-kick in the centre circle buyt McCarthy can only nod Watson's delivery down and wide.
36 min: Watson's throughball almost finds Beattie but Grant is out of his area quickly to head away.
31 min: Palace getting better now as neat interplay between Ifill and Watson on the edge of the box sets the latter up with a shooting chance but it's blocked.
34 min: It's pouring out there now, not nice conditions.
38 min: A short corner between Oster and Watson ends with Derry winning a free kick 25 yards out that Beattie curls high and wide. I'm surprised he was given the nod for that ahead of Watson.
41 min: A one-two between Beattie and Fonte sees the former put in a good cross but no one attacks it and Wednesday counter-attack up the other. Lawrence blocks Clarke's shot and the Tudgay smashes wide.
43 min: Palace go up the other end and Watson sets up Oster's 20 yards out but his low drilled shot is well saved by Grant.
45 min: Great save by Grant as Kuqi knocks down Hill's ball to Ifill and his shot to the bottom left corner is brilliantly touched around the post by the keeper. From the corner Fonte's header back across the box causes havoc and Steve Watson clears off the line.
HALF TIME: No boos for Palace and no cheers either. They got better towards half time but waiting 43 minutes for a shot on target is not really acceptable.
46 min: We're under way again and no changes at the break.
49 min: Kuqi's deft header almost sets up Beattie but the ball runs away from him.
51 min: Beattie has space on the edge of the box but delays his shot and is tackled.
53 min: PENALTY AND GOAL. Kuqi swivels on Hill's ball in the box and Wood brings im down. Watson slots it into the bottom corner.
55 min: Very composed from Watson there and Kuqi showed his value in winning the penalty. Watson is leading scorere now.
56 min: Watson bursts through after Fonte charges forward and passes to Beattie on the edge of the box. Watson takes the ball off him and muscles his way through but Grant smothers.
58 min: McCarthy slips chesting down Esajas cross gifting the ball to Clarke in acres of space but he drags his shot wide.
60 min: McCarthy fouls Burton 25 yards out but Steve Watson's free-kick is gathered easily by Speroni.
62 min: Burton heads over from Watson's corner. Was under pressure from Derry but should have done better.
65 min: Great chance for Palace. Derry's ball sets Oster away down the right and although his cross is blocked by Wood it falls for Kuqi unmarked 12 yards out but he side foots over when he had loads of time.
70 min: SUB: Esajas and Clarke off for Johnson and Sodje.
73 min: Burton gets a head to Buxton's cross but it skims well wide.
74 min: YELLOW CARD: Ben Watson booked for a foul on Johnson as he ran between him and Fonte.
76 min: Fonte surges forward again and wins a free-kick 30 yards out that Watson curls just over.
77 min: SUB: Beattie replaced by Scannell.
78 min: Johnson hits the crossbar aas he cuts inside both Oster and Fonte. Unlucky.
81 min: Buxton appeals for a penalty as he goes down in the box as Watson's free-kick comes in but nothing given
82 min: Attendance, 14,650.
83 min: Ifill skins two down the left and Kuqi just fails to meet his near post cross.
85 min: Sodje is late on Lawrence and the pair clash heads and are both down but look ok to carry on.
87 min: Scannell's flick sets up Ifill but his shot is blocked and diverted wide.
88 min: Sub: Kuqi is clapped off and replaced by Andrew.
89 min: Good chance for Johnson as Burton's dummies McAllister's ball but he shoots wide.
90 min: Scramble in the Wednesday box and suddenly Scannell is through but Grant blocks brilliantly.
90 min: Five minutes added on.
92 min: Fonte does well to cut out a dangerous throughball.
93 min: Watson's volley from distance goes wide.
94 min: Amazing chance for Palace to win it as Oster's ball somehow evades Watson and Andrew.
FULL TIME: A point for Palace and arguably they should have won it in the second half with better finishing. They were poor in the first half though and that shouldn't be forgotten. Next up is Coventry away next Saturday. See you then.