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Selhurst Park (ATT 13,799) 8th December 2008 - Kick off 20:00 Ref: D Deadman

C Palace Crystal Palace vs Southampton So'ton

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So'ton 0

Eagles soar into fifth

Kuqi sets Palace on way to home romp

Last Updated: 08/12/08 10:49pm

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Ifill: Clinching third

Ifill: Clinching third

Crystal Palace have climbed into fifth in the Championship table following a 3-0 victory over lowly Southampton.

Neil Warnock's side did the damage early on, with goals inside the opening 15 minutes from Shefki Kuqi and Craig Beattie putting the Eagles in control.

Saints did their best to get back into the contest, but substitute Paul Ifill settled the game late on after getting the better of Lloyd James before firing home.

Saints, who are just four points above the drop zone, survived a scare in the first minute when Nick Carle burst into the area but left-back Rudi Skacel came across to make a vital challenge.

Referee Darren Deadman waved away Palace's appeals for a penalty, and did the same at the other end when Saints striker David McGoldrick took a theatrical tumble in the area.

Broke the deadlock

But Kuqi broke the deadlock in fine style in the ninth minute when teenage Palace defender Nathaniel Clyne floated the ball into the penalty area.

Saints centre-half Alex Pearce misjudged the flight, allowing Kuqi to control the ball on his chest and volley over Kelvin Davis and into the net.

Six minutes later Beattie doubled Palace's lead with a powerful angled drive after Jose Fonte had helped John Oster's corner into his path.

Saints did manage to stem the flow, though, and eventually began to dominate possession after Palace lost midfielder Ben Watson to injury.

Jan Poortvliet's young side play plenty of pretty football but a lack of end product could yet prove their downfall this season.

Effort blocked

Bradley Wright-Phillips had a shot blocked by Fonte before Jordan Robertson forced Julian Speroni to tip his shot around the post as the interval approached.

After the break, Saints' England Under-21 midfielder Andrew Surman drove narrowly wide from 25 yards.

But wily Palace were content to let their visitors keep the ball while limiting them to long-range efforts.

Kuqi could have added a third, and another few pounds onto his transfer value, but the big Finn skied his effort high and wide.

But the third goal did arrive in the 75th minute when James failed to control a high ball and substitute Ifill nipped in to fire past Davis.

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Table

Sky Bet Championship

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

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