Norwich 0, Crystal Palace 1
DAVID CUFFLEY Norwich City’s 100 per cent home record for the season was brought to a demoralising end at Carrow Road when former Ipswich striker Shefki Kuqi scored a last minute winner for Crystal Palace.
Norwich City's 100 per cent home record for the season was brought to a demoralising end at Carrow Road when former Ipswich striker Shefki Kuqi scored a last minute winner for Crystal Palace.
Kuqi, on as a second substitute for Clinton Morrison, grabbed the winner when his header from a Mark Kennedy corner went in off the inside of the post.
Visitors Palace had enjoyed the best opportunities but had earlier been denied three times by City keeper Paul Gallacher and had had a goal disallowed.
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Eight minutes before the break, Gallacher foiled Palace skipper Michael Hughes with an excellent save, and he reacted well to deny Morrison after 58 minutes, only for the Palace striker to knock the rebound into the net but his effort was ruled out for handball.
Gallacher later denied Jobi McAnuff with another excellent save before Palace struck that late killer blow.
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Robert Earnshaw had City's best opportunities but was unable to add to his midweek double at Southend, while substitute Peter Thorne went close with a header deep in injury time.
Left back Patrick Boyle, who joined City on a month's loan from Everton on Thursday, was thrust straight into the first team for this afternoon's clash with Crystal Palace.
Boyle, just 19, and yet to start a league match, was called up when City skipper Adam Drury was ruled out by an ankle injury.
Midfielder Carl Robinson, who missed Tuesday's 3-3 draw at Southend with a stomach bug, returned in place of Andy Hughes.
Lee Croft, who had been doubtful with a calf injury earlier in the week, was passed fit to play.
Hughes was on the substitute's bench along with striker Peter Thorne, who had been out of action since appearing as a substitute at Leeds on the opening day of the season.
Palace manager Peter Taylor made five changes to the side beaten by Southampton on Tuesday.
Out went left back Danny Granville, defender Mark Hudson, midfielder Carl Fletcher and striker Shefki Kuqi, while midfielder Tom Soares is a long term casualty after suffering a serious ankle injury against the Saints.
Into the side came three defenders - Darren Ward, Gary Borrowdale and Matt Lawrence - as well as recalled skipper Michael Hughes and striker Clinton Morrison.
Before kick-off, City midfielder Dickson Etuhu received his player of the month award for August.
Palace kicked off defending the Barclay End and there was an early touch for Boyle when he conceded a throw in with a header deep in Norwich territory.
Next the youngster attempted to set City on the attack and his long through ball was headed clear by Cort.
Palace threatened for the first time in the third minute when Scowcroft flashed a right foot shot just over the bar.
As City pushed forward, Safri found McVeigh with an excellent diagonal pass and McVeigh cut inside from the left and let fly with a right foot drive which was only just off target.
City squandered their next opening when Safri played a free-kick short to Robinson and took a return pass, but his centre was easily cut out by Ward.
It was a bright start, however, by the home side and Croft was next to try his luck, cutting in from the right touchline and firing in a left foot shot which Kiraly gathered at his near post.
City won their first corner after eight minutes when Safri picked out Croft and Butterfield was grateful to usher the winger's cross out for a flag kick. But when McVeigh took the corner, Etuhu was penalised for his challenge on the keeper.
Doherty, who was captain for the day in Drury's absence, headed clear from a Kennedy free-kick as Palace went back on the attack.
City went swiftly on the attack through Croft, who was fouled by Borrowdale at the expense of a free-kick. Doherty rose to meet Safri's kick with a firm header but the ball would not drop for Etuhu and Shackell had a shot charged down before Palace cleared their lines.
There were groans from the home crowd after 13 minutes when Croft attempted a one-two with Robinson and appeared to be barged over by Borrowdale but referee D'Urso waved play on.
Doherty was in the right place once again, heading clear from a cross by Borrowdale in a move started by Hughes.
Palace won their first corner after 17 minutes and Shackell, who had made a solid start, was there again to head clear from Kennedy's flag kick.
After a bright opening on a glorious afternoon, the game had entered something of a lull with not too much in the way of goalmouth action at either end.
Midway through the half a potentially promising opening for the Canaries was spoiled when the flag went up for offside against McVeigh after Etuhu had played him through.
Croft was next to fall foul of the linesman's flag when Colin played a long ball over the defence towards him.
Boyle, who had made a steady start on his debut, pushed forward into Palace territory on the left flank before his progress was halted by a foul by McAnuff.
Earnshaw attempted to set up McVeigh for a shot on the edge of the area but his effort was charged down.
Safri, urged by the home crowd to shoot from more than 35-yards, tried his luck but was well off target with a right foot drive.
There was some amusement when Shackell fired a long diagonal pass in the direction of Croft and when the winger realised it was heading out of play, he leapt to catch it with both hands, goalkeeper style. The referee decided, however, that the ball had not left play and awarded Palace a free-kick instead.
Shackell was doing a good job at the back and produced a timely challenge to foil Morrison when the striker shaped to shoot from just outside the six-yard box.
Doherty was next to distinguish himself at the back with a timely header from a dangerous looking centre from Palace skipper Hughes.
Palace were beginning to enjoy more of the possession and when Hughes found Morrison in space, it was Shackell again in the right place to head clear from the striker's cross.
Croft showed excellent control to intercept a cross-field ball from Kennedy and pick out Robinson but the midfielder's centre was just too strong as Earnshaw went in pursuit.
With 35 minutes gone, Palace carved out the best opening of the half so far when Morrison put Hughes clear and the Palace skipper, with only Gallacher to beat, tried to tuck it away with his left foot, only for the keeper to dive to his left and make an excellent save at the expense of a corner. Kennedy took the flag kick but Cort's header was easily gathered by Gallacher.
As City went on the counterattack, Etuhu teed up Earnshaw for a shot but the striker's effort was horribly wide.
McVeigh was even further off target when he let fly from 40-yards in Norwich's next attack.
Boyle joined the attack to good effect when he won a corner as his cross was blocked by Hughes after a sprightly move started by Earnshaw and McVeigh.
McVeigh wasted the corner, but when Safri followed up with a cross from the left, the ball fell to Earnshaw who might have done better than send a bobbling right foot shot past the post.
In first half stoppage time, Palace won a free-kick wide on the right but as Kennedy floated the ball over, Doherty and Etuhu between them managed to clear their lines.
Half-time: Norwich City 0, Crystal Palace 0.
Two minutes after the restart the Canaries won another corner when McVeigh and Robinson combined neatly in an attempt to set up Earnshaw and it took a fine interception from Butterfield to foil the little striker.
McVeigh's corner was cleared but City kept up the pressure and Doherty was only just over the top with a header from an excellent cross by Croft.
Croft set up another attack when he burst clear on the right but the move was spoiled by a poor ball into the box from Robinson, which was easily dealt with.
Croft was certainly involved in most of Norwich's best moves and another teasing centre was met with a header by Robinson which lacked power but was only fractionally wide.
Croft tried to set Norwich on the attack again when he burst through the middle and picked out McVeigh on the left, but after a promising run McVeigh's cross was over hit and drifted out for a goal kick with two or three Canaries waiting in the box.
After a low key start to the second half, there was a sudden flash point after 58 minutes that ended in a disallowed goal for Palace and three yellow cards being shown.
Morrison reacted quickly to get on the end of a downward header from Cort and although his first effort was brilliantly blocked by Gallacher, Morrison knocked the rebound into the back of the net. However, his goal celebration was cut short when he was adjudged to have handled before tucking away his second shot. There followed a lengthy debate between the officials and players on both sides, after which the referee confirmed that he had disallowed the goal and showed the yellow card, apparently to Morrison. Before play restarted, he also booked Kennedy and City midfielder Safri.
As Norwich went back on the attack, Croft centred to Earnshaw, whose fierce shot was blocked by Cort.
Palace seemed fired up by the disallowed goal and Doherty was at full stretch to head clear from a Butterfield free-kick and concede a corner. Kennedy's flag kick was met with a looping header from Cort and, with Morrison on the ground at the far post, there was an almighty scramble before City could get the ball cleared.
Palace threatened again when McAnuff crossed from the right and Scowcroft's outstretched foot just made contact as the ball skidded across the face of the goal.
Palace made the first change of the afternoon after 69 minutes when skipper Hughes, who had been a big influence on the game, made way for Green.
Palace were certainly enjoying the best of things at this stage and when Kennedy floated in another corner from the right, Scowcroft's header was only kept out by a combination of Colin's outstretched boot and Gallacher's right hand.
City felt they had justifiable penalty claims turned down in their next attack when Robinson appeared to be bundled over in the area, but the referee was unimpressed.
With 17 minutes left, Palace made their second change and it was something of a surprise when Morrison was taken off and replaced by Kuqi. It meant that with Scowcroft already playing in attack, Palace now had a former Ipswich front pairing and Kuqi received a suitable greeting from the home crowd.
Scowcroft was next to try his luck for the visitors when he swivelled and struck a right foot drive just wide of Gallacher's goal.
Earnshaw had had a quiet afternoon and he was frustrated again when Robinson's attempted through ball was just too strong for him after Safri had set another City attack going.
The Canaries made their first change with just over 10 minutes remaining when Robinson came off and Thorne was given his first taste of first team football since the opening day of the season, joining Earnshaw in attack.
Gallacher came to the rescue again with 10 minutes left with an excellent save from McAnuff. Kennedy and Scowcroft were involved in the move and McAnuff was put clear one on one with the City keeper, who did superbly to turn his right foot shot wide for a corner.
The Canaries appeared to have a useful opening with the minutes ticking away when Earnshaw was put clear and he squared the ball to Croft on the right but the winger's cross was over hit and finished up in the crowd.
It was Croft's last contribution of the afternoon as with five minutes left, he was replaced by Hughes.
Worthington made his third and final change with three minutes left when Ryan Jarvis was sent on in place of McVeigh.
Earnshaw was desperate to get on the score sheet after his double at Southend in midweek but he fired over the top from 20-yards in the final minute.
As 90 minutes came up on the clock, Palace stunned the home crowd with a goal from Kuqi. Kennedy's flag kick was met with a firm header by the former Ipswich man, which bounced up and struck the inside of the post before dropping into the net.
As City desperately sought an equaliser, Kiraly fumbled a header from Thorne and then Boyle tried his luck with a left footer from 20-yards that flew wide.
Result: Norwich City 0, Crystal Palace 1.
GOAL: Norwich 0 Crystal Palace 1 (Shefki Kuqi 90)
Norwich: Gallacher, Colin, Shackell, Doherty, Boyle, Etuhu, Safri, Robinson, Croft, Earnshaw, McVeigh. Subs: Camp, Fleming,
Thorne, Hughes, Ryan Jarvis.
Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Lawrence, Ward, Cort, Borrowdale, Butterfield, Hughes, Kennedy, McAnuff, Scowcroft, Morrison. Subs: Speroni, Granville, Freedman, Green, Kuqi.
Referee: A D'Urso (Essex)