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Eagles leave the Valley with plenty to crow about

BRIGHT: Yannick Bolasie was the star of Crystal Palace's winning side

CRYSTAL PALACE took all three points in their 1-0 Friday night thriller against Charlton Athletic at The Valley.

If local derbies were food; then this south London sandwich had all the ingredients for the perfect evening snack. A disallowed goal, several crunching tackles, a disappointed manager and a referee hitting the deck.

Given it was the first time Charlton and Crystal Palace had met in nearly four years, it was no surprise to see a near packed house cheering their respective teams on.

But it all came down to Kagisho Dikgacoi’s tasty volley five minutes into the second half, following Damien Delaney’s corner. The Charlton backline will not want to watch the goal again as they left the scorer in loads of space to chest the ball down before striking it.

Their win last time out against Sheffield Wednesday meant Charlton’s neighbours were full of confidence and clearly keen to get their second win of the season.

The visitors held the majority of the early possession and Ben Hamer was the busier of the two goalkeepers throughout the first half.

The importance of the game to the two clubs was clear as challenges flew in from all angles. If it wasn’t for the leniency of the referee, Dikgacoi may well have been the first name in the book instead of the first name on the scoresheet.

Palace were the more diligent of the two sides, happy to defend in the hope that Wilfred Zaha and Yannick Bolasie would get enough space to run at the Charlton back line.

Hamer needed some help to maintain his clean sheet as Leon Cort and Michael Morrison made vital clearances from Owen Garvan and Jonathan Parr, respectively.

The home side thought they had taken the lead on 30 minutes, when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored from a Lawrie Wilson’s free-kick, but the referee disallowed it for offside.

Both managers agreed it should have stood and Chris Powell admitted the assistant referee had come into his dressing room to apologise after the game.

Although Zaha is still Palace’s golden boy, recent signing Bolasie also stood out as a player they will be able to rely on in future. Strong and confident; he was a perfect foil for the teenager as the visitors dictated play.

Palace boss, Dougie Freedman raved about the newcomer saying: "I thought he was outstanding today, his energy very positive enough for him to keep on going. We set it up for Zaha and Bolasie - two young kids - to go out and express themselves and that’s exactly what they did."

Hamer nearly grabbed a draw for the Addicks two minutes before the end as he connected well with a header, but it wasn’t to be and the Eagles hold onto bragging rights until the return next February.

Powell was very philosophical about the loss. "It wasn’t to be but it was a good local derby. Two teams really going for it. Crystal Palace started really well and we grew into the game."

On the subject of the referee, he said: "It’s always tough to referee derbies. Yeah there were one or two incidents that could have warranted a yellow card but sometimes they go for you and sometimes they don’t."

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