Crystal Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough
Crystal Palace moved up to fourth with a comprehensive victory over play-off rivals Middlesbrough.
Glenn Murray gave Palace an early lead with his close-range finish while Peter Ramage doubled their advantage after the break with a smart swivel and shot.
Murray made it 3-0 with a fine strike from 20 yards before Boro pulled one back through Faris Haroun's neat finish from Ishmael Miller's fine pass.
But veteran Kevin Philips sealed the rout with a late deflected goal.
England manager Roy Hodgson was in attendance, and while he may have been there to monitor Wilfried Zaha, it was Murray who was arguably the star of the show.
The 29-year-old striker's two goals took his tally for the season to 27 - more than any other player in England's four professional leagues.
Murray's first came in the ninth minute as he tapped in from close range following good work by Zaha to create the chance.
From then on Palace dominated, but they failed to convert that into goals, prompting manager Ian Holloway to tell his players they were boring him at the half-time interval.
That comment seemed to have the desired result as the home side added a second just three minutes into the second half, Ramage hooking the ball into the net for his second goal in as many games.
A third goal duly arrived in the 57th minute with Murray launching a left-foot effort from distance into the top corner.
That goal put the result beyond a doubt, with Middlesbrough largely limited to trying their luck with long-range efforts that were of little trouble for Palace keeper Julian Speroni.
Middlesbrough did manage to pull one back 10 minutes from time as Haroun slotted in after being picked out by Ishmael Miller's flick on, but Palace restored their three-goal advantage minutes later when Phillips finished smartly after racing onto Zaha's through ball.
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway: "In front of the England manager, I thought Wilf [Zaha] was excellent. We have a few who make a difference - he is one of them. This was as good as he has played since I have been here.
"He is literally as good as any chef I have seen, and he has roasted their full-backs all day and they will be glad to see the back of him. I thought we moved the ball too slowly in the first half and told them that at half-time. I told them they were boring me - we upped the pace of doing things.
"We are getting stronger and the challenge is, can we get another 14 of them [wins]? That would be good, wouldn't it? We have to aim for the stars."
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray: "We didn't get started, if we are looking for reasons, the amount we put in against Leeds in such a physical game [1-0 win on Tuesday] appears to have taken it out of some. But there are no excuses, individual errors cost us for the goals.
"We knew they had talented forward players, but my players are sitting there disappointed. We lost four goals at Ipswich a few weeks ago - we can't keep doing that.
"We are still in the top six and our ambitions are to remain there, we are capable of winning matches. We have to get back to our old form, but at the moment that seems a long way away."
- 01 Speroni
- 27 Delaney
- 28 Ramage
- 03 Richards
- 04 Parr
- 08 Dikgacoi (Butterfield - 76' )
- 15 Jedinak
- 20 Williams (K Phillips - 70' )
- 11 Dobbie (Bolasie - 81' )
- 16 Zaha
- 17 Murray
- 34 Price
- 21 Moxey
- 06 Butterfield
- 07 Bolasie
- 22 O'Keefe
- 09 K Phillips
- 18 Wilbraham
- 01 Steele
- 03 Bikey
- 04 Friend
- 14 Williams Booked
- 21 Parnaby (Dyer - 58' )
- 07 Leadbitter
- 16 McEachran (Miller - 60' )
- 18 Halliday
- 38 Haroun
- 17 Jutkiewicz (Bailey - 59' )
- 19 Carayol
- 32 Leutwiler
- 06 McManus
- 10 Bailey
- 12 Dyer
- 09 Emnes
- 11 Ledesma
- 30 Miller
Live Text Commentary
Full Time The final whistle is blown by the referee.90:00 +0:06
Grant Leadbitter takes the outswinging corner, save made by Julian Speroni.88:18
Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Rhys Williams by Mile Jedinak. Grant Leadbitter restarts play with the free kick.87:14
Effort from the edge of the area by Mustapha Carayol goes wide of the right-hand post.83:57
The assist for the goal came from Wilfried Zaha.83:57 Goal scored
Goal! - Kevin Phillips - C Palace 4 - 1 Middlesbro Goal scored by Kevin Phillips from inside the box to the top left corner of the goal. Crystal Palace 4-1 Middlesbrough.82:10
Glenn Murray is caught offside. Jason Steele restarts play with the free kick.81:38
Shot from outside the box by Jacob Butterfield misses to the left of the goal.80:12
Glenn Murray takes the free kick.80:12 Substitution
Substitution Stephen Dobbie leaves the field to be replaced by Yannick Bolasie.80:12
Unfair challenge on Stephen Dobbie by Rhys Williams results in a free kick.79:05
Ishmael Miller provided the assist for the goal.79:05 Goal scored
Goal! - Faris Haroun - C Palace 3 - 1 Middlesbro A goal is scored by Faris Haroun from deep inside the penalty area to the bottom left corner of the goal. Crystal Palace 3-1 Middlesbrough.77:16
Mustapha Carayol takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save. Grant Leadbitter takes the outswinging corner, Jacob Butterfield manages to make a clearance.76:13
The referee gives a free kick against Rhys Williams for handball. Damien Delaney takes the free kick.74:52
Indirect free kick taken by Julian Speroni.74:52 Substitution
Substitution Kagisho Dikgacoi leaves the field to be replaced by Jacob Butterfield.74:52
The offside flag is raised against Faris Haroun.73:27
Andrew Halliday takes a shot. Julian Speroni makes a save.72:15
Andre Bikey concedes a free kick for a foul on Kevin Phillips. Stephen Dobbie restarts play with the free kick.
Substitution Kevin Phillips on for Jonathan Williams.68:44
The ball is crossed by Ashley Richards, Jason Steele makes a save.64:23
Shot by Glenn Murray from 25 yards. Save by Jason Steele.62:34
Andrew Halliday gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wilfried Zaha. Free kick taken by Ashley Richards.58:34
Stephen Dobbie takes a inswinging corner.58:34 Substitution
Substitution Ishmael Miller on for Josh McEachran.58:34 Substitution
Substitution (Middlesbrough) makes a substitution, with Nicky Bailey coming on for Lukas Jutkiewicz.56:27 Goal scored
Goal! - Glenn Murray - C Palace 3 - 0 Middlesbro Glenn Murray finds the back of the net with a goal from outside the penalty box to the top right corner of the goal. Crystal Palace 3-0 Middlesbrough.57:47 Substitution
Substitution Kieron Dyer is brought on as a substitute for Stuart Parnaby.52:00
Unfair challenge on George Friend by Wilfried Zaha results in a free kick. Andrew Halliday takes the free kick.47:48
The assist for the goal came from Glenn Murray.47:48 Goal scored
Goal! - Peter Ramage - C Palace 2 - 0 Middlesbro Peter Ramage fires in a goal from close range low into the middle of the goal. Crystal Palace 2-0 Middlesbrough.47:24
Outswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Stephen Dobbie.45:01
The second half kicks off.45:00 +4:47 Half time
Half Time The first half comes to an end.45:00 +4:05
Effort on goal by Wilfried Zaha from just inside the penalty box goes harmlessly over the target.45:00 +2:15
Inswinging corner taken by Stephen Dobbie, free kick awarded for a foul by Kagisho Dikgacoi on Lukas Jutkiewicz. Free kick taken by Jason Steele.45:00 +1:37
Stephen Dobbie decides to take the corner short.45:00 +0:49
The assistant referee flags for offside against Lukas Jutkiewicz. Julian Speroni takes the indirect free kick.43:52
Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Grant Leadbitter. Corner from the right by-line taken by Grant Leadbitter, clearance by Glenn Murray.42:13
The ball is crossed by Faris Haroun, clearance made by Peter Ramage.39:45
Direct free kick taken by Julian Speroni.39:45 Booking
Booking Rhys Williams receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.39:33
Rhys Williams challenges Kagisho Dikgacoi unfairly and gives away a free kick.38:38
Faris Haroun takes a shot. Peter Ramage manages to make a clearance.38:04
The ball is swung over by Mustapha Carayol, clearance made by Peter Ramage.31:55
Stephen Dobbie takes a shot from 35 yards and missed to the right of the goal.29:25
Corner taken right-footed by Stephen Dobbie from the right by-line, clearance made by Andrew Halliday. Short corner worked by Stephen Dobbie.24:37
Shot by Damien Delaney from just outside the area goes over the net.24:02
Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Stephen Dobbie from the left by-line.22:49
The ball is sent over by Wilfried Zaha, Header on goal by Glenn Murray from inside the box goes harmlessly over the target.22:07
The ball is crossed by Wilfried Zaha.20:00
Stephen Dobbie takes a shot. Save made by Jason Steele.18:57
The assistant referee flags for offside against Mustapha Carayol. Julian Speroni takes the free kick.17:32
Foul by Ashley Richards on George Friend, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Andrew Halliday.13:29
Ashley Richards gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Lukas Jutkiewicz. Lukas Jutkiewicz delivers the ball from the free kick right-footed from left channel.11:16
Foul by Mile Jedinak on Mustapha Carayol, free kick awarded. Grant Leadbitter takes the direct free kick.9:47
Rhys Williams concedes a free kick for a foul on Kagisho Dikgacoi. Direct free kick taken by Julian Speroni.8:04
Assist by Wilfried Zaha.8:04 Goal scored
Goal! - Glenn Murray - C Palace 1 - 0 Middlesbro Glenn Murray scores a goal from close in to the bottom left corner of the goal. Crystal Palace 1-0 Middlesbrough.6:49
The ball is delivered by Faris Haroun.5:30
A cross is delivered by Jonathan Parr, George Friend makes a clearance.4:20
The ball is swung over by Stuart Parnaby. Josh McEachran takes a shot. Save by Julian Speroni.0:53
Kagisho Dikgacoi challenges Grant Leadbitter unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Jason Steele.0:00
The referee gets the game started.
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