Murray spot-kick sees Palace sink Bolton
17:25 29 September 2012
Championship: Bolton Wanderers 0 Crystal Palace 1
Crystal Palace stretched their unbeaten run to five games as Glenn Murray continued his fine goalscoring form to convert the penalty which proved the difference against Bolton at the Reebok Stadium.
Both teams came into the game with 10 points, sat just below mid-table in the npower Championship, and in a close match short on quality it was the Eagles who recorded their fourth win in five matches.
Murray had scored two penalties as part of a hat-trick a week earlier as Palace came from two down to beat Cardiff 3-2 and the former Brighton striker held his nerve 10 minutes from time to give the visitors their first ever league win away to Bolton, whose own unbeaten home run in the league came to an end.
Palace made the better start and within a minute the impressive Wilfried Zaha burst into the area on the right before seeing his angled, first-time shot parried away by goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
Palace were looking a threat on the counter-attack and went close once more as Owen Garvan sent in a looping cross but Murray was not able to get enough power on his header and sent his attempt straight at Bogdan.
The hosts then had a penalty shout for a possible handball from a Mark Davies header, before Damien Delaney made a superb block to deny home striker David Ngog, who looked well placed to score from close range.
Zaha again went close for Palace on 35 minutes as he turned well in the area to fire a low shot that was well saved by the feet of Bogdan, before the visitors were forced to put their bodies on the line to block efforts from both Kevin Davies and Chris Eagles as Bolton threatened inside the six-yard area at the other end.
But it was Palace who ended the half on a high when Murray glanced a header inches wide of the right post from Garvan’s left-wing cross.
After the break, Bolton had their best chance of the game on the hour when Mark Davies beat one man in the area and drilled a low shot that was bundled away from the danger-zone by Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
The home side seemed buoyed by this chance and moments later Kevin Davies, making his 700th career appearance, also found Speroni when well placed six yards out, following Eagles’ free-kick that was flicked on by Matt Mills.
Palace had struggled to rediscover their first-half form, but Zaha almost created something from nothing when he surged forward and despite numbers in support, he kept on going himself and saw his shot well saved by Bogdan.
It was the tricky Zaha whose skills ended up helping the visitors score what would prove to be the only goal of the game.
Zaha’s trickery drew a foul from Zat Knight and referee Geoff Eltringham pointed to the penalty spot, with Murray stepping up to slot home past Bogdan to give Palace the lead.
The dangerous Zaha then produced a dangerous cross across the face of goal that was close to being connected to by two Palace players.
The hosts went close to equalising when substitute Chung-Yong Lee sent a fizzing shot whistling just over the upright, but Bolton were unable to create anything better than this as Dougie Freedman’s men held on for victory.