Derby County 2 Crystal Palace 1

Last updated : 24 February 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Crystal Palace finally came down to earth as Derby tore up the form book to boost their First Division survival hopes.

Palace appeared to be cruising to a sixth straight win until they pressed the self-destruct button and allowed Derby to grab the points.

Manager Iain Dowie summed it up when he said: "It was two moments of madness. From 60 minutes on we did not do ourselves justice but we will take it as a blip." For Derby boss George Burley the result was reward for his team's fighting sprit.

He said: "I'm pleased with the character and the sprit we showed in the second half and I'm delighted for Manel, who has found it difficult to adapt to the pace of the English game." Manel scored his first goal since his move to Pride Park to begin the revival which ended Palace's winning run and lifted struggling Derby.

His well placed header after Noel Whelan had flicked on a long throw crept inside the right-hand post to tie the game up with 20 minutes left.

If there were question marks about the defending, Palace permitted defensive suicide six minutes later for the home side's winner.

A risky pass across the face of his own goal by Tony Popovic put Mark Hudson under pressure and Leon Osman robbed him before placing a left-foot shot inside the left-hand upright.

Palace must have wondered how the game had turned around after they had dominated for so long.

With Michael Hughes outstanding in midfield, the Eagles were flying although their goal came out of the blue.

A long clearance was headed on by Neil Shipperley and Hughes scored with a lob from the right-hand edge of the area with Lee Grant in no-man's land.

The Derby goalkeeper redeemed himself with two great saves to deny Shipperley in the 36th minute before keeping out a deflection off defender Rob Edwards two minutes later.

But Palace still looked comfortable until those moments of madness proved so costly.