Palace pay big penalty

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Crystal Palace 0 Charlton 1

There is a cloud over Crystal Palace and it is looming darker by the week. They are not a side who can afford to squander points but on Sunday, thanks to a crossbar, a missed penalty and a late Charlton winner from Dennis Rommedahl, they took nothing from a game they should have won.

That the four sides below them also lost this weekend means they are statistically no nearer relegation but, especially after last week's disappointing draw at Southampton, mentally they must already be able to feel the trapdoor's draught. For all the remarkable improvement wrought by Iain Dowie, Palace are simply not good enough to spurn points when they are laid on a plate.

Palace and Charlton had never previously met in the Premiership and all of football can be grateful for that. This was dire stuff, all miss-hit passes and aimless punts, the bittiness exacerbated by an over-fussy refereeing performance from Matt Messias.

Chances were few and far between but Palace had the bulk of what there were. Certainly it was only misfortune that denied Aki Riihilahti a minute before half-time as he met a cross from his fellow Finn Joonas Kolkka with a powerful header only for the ball to bounce up and rebound off the bar.

They were presented with an even better chance 19 minutes later as Andy Johnson chased a long pass from Ben Watson, but, having been upended by Talal El Kharkouri, he saw his penalty brilliantly saved low to his left by Dean Kiely.

It looked a tale of Palace frustration but then, deep in injury time, it became devastation as Danny Murphy fed Rommedahl, who hurtled past Danny Granville and, uncharacteristically, caught his shot sweetly, beating Gabor Kiraly low to his left to register his first goal in English football.

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