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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 Bournemouth 39 73
2 Watford 39 72
3 Middlesbrough 39 72
4 Norwich City 39 70
5 Derby County 39 67
6 Ipswich Town 39 67
7 Brentford 39 66
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 39 65
9 Nottingham Forest 39 57
10 Blackburn Rovers 39 54
11 Charlton Athletic 39 54
12 Sheffield Wednesday 39 53
13 Leeds United 39 52
14 Cardiff City 39 51
15 Birmingham City 38 47
16 Brighton and Hove Albion 39 45
17 Bolton Wanderers 39 45
18 Huddersfield Town 39 44
19 Reading 38 44
20 Fulham 39 43
21 Rotherham United 39 40
22 Wigan Athletic 39 35
23 Millwall 39 33
24 Blackpool 39 23

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