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Selhurst Park (ATT 16,340) 7th March 2009 - Kick off 15:00 Ref: R Booth

C Palace Crystal Palace vs Preston North End Preston

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Danns strike sinks Preston

Stokes nets goal on full Eagles debut

Last Updated: 07/03/09 6:09pm

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Stokes: Scored on full debut

Stokes: Scored on full debut

Crystal Palace addressed a slump in their form as Neil Danns' effort proved enough to earn Neil Warnock's side a 2-1 victory over Preston.

Promotion contenders Preston enjoyed a fine start to proceedings at Selhurst Park as Billy Jones scored a clever effort in the 29th minute.

It was, though, to prove a false dawn for Alan Irvine's side as Anthony Stokes' marked his full Palace debut with a leveller, before Danns settled matters within five minutes of Jones' opener.

Palace continued to domnate after the break and Ifill went agonisingly close before Stokes and Danns forced Preston goalkeeper Andy Lonergan into good saves.

The win halted the Eagles' four-match winless run and eased their relegation fears while Preston were left with only one away win in their past 10 attempts.

The home side had started brightly and in one attack John Oster intercepted a poor pass and played the ball to Danns whose shot was too close to Lonergan.

Alert

Minutes later Lonergan had to be alert to tip Shefki Kuqi's header over the crossbar after the Finn had rose to meet Clint Hill's free-kick.

Preston took the lead against the run of play when Ross Wallace's cross was inadvertently flicked by Hill into the path of Stephen Elliott and he backheeled to Jones who finished from 12 yards.

Palace came roaring back and three minutes later Stokes jinked his way past Sean St Ledger before arrowing a superb shot past Lonergan.

Two minutes later the Eagles were ahead when Paul Ifill got away down the left and crossed for the advancing Danns who slid home from close range.

Stokes almost had a second just before half-time but his free-kick from 20 yards flew just wide with Lonergan scrambling.

Response

The home side continued where they left off after the break and Ifill drifted in from the left before firing in a shot that went narrowly wide.

Preston brought on Neil Mellor in a bid to give themselves a more attacking threat but the visitors struggled to break down the well-organised Palace defence.

Jose Fonte was dominating everything at the back for Palace and he could have made the game virtually safe with 20 minutes gone but he headed wide from Oster's corner.

Minutes later Kuqi released the impressive Stokes and his shot from a tight angle forced Lonergan into a good save.

Late on Oster crossed for Danns and his header was superbly kept out by Lonergan but Preston were unable to salvage anything from the match.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Nottingham Forest 8 18
2 Norwich City 8 17
3 Wolverhampton Wanderers 8 17
4 Watford 8 16
5 Middlesbrough 8 15
6 Sheffield Wednesday 8 15
7 Charlton Athletic 8 14
8 Derby County 8 13
9 Blackburn Rovers 8 13
10 Reading 8 13
11 Leeds United 8 13
12 Ipswich Town 7 11
13 Millwall 8 11
14 Brentford 8 11
15 Bournemouth 8 9
16 Cardiff City 8 9
17 Wigan Athletic 7 8
18 Brighton and Hove Albion 8 8
19 Rotherham United 8 8
20 Birmingham City 8 7
21 Bolton Wanderers 8 5
22 Huddersfield Town 8 5
23 Blackpool 8 2
24 Fulham 8 1

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