Zaha cracker in Palace draw

Crystal Palace were pegged back by Huddersfield as an incident-filled match at Selhurst Park ended 1-1 on Saturday.

Last Updated: 22/12/12 at 21:33 Post Comment

Wilfried Zaha: Scored superb opener for Palace

Wilfried Zaha: Scored superb opener for Palace

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Wilfried Zaha enhanced his reputation with a stunning goal in an entertaining encounter. Arsenal and Manchester United are rumoured to be lining up January bids for the young England winger, and he bumped up his price tag by firing Palace into the lead in style.

But a goalkeeping error by Julian Speroni allowed Keith Southern to claim his first goal for Huddersfield as the visitors snatched a draw. It was harsh on Speroni, who kept Palace in the game in the first half after they were reduced to 10 men when Damien Delaney was sent off after only 10 minutes.

The Argentinian, a survivor from the last time Palace were in the Premier league seven years ago, pulled off a string of fine saves including from a penalty from Adam Clayton. But his second-half blunder gifted Huddersfield a point as Palace slipped to third in the Championship. Huddersfield also ended the match with 10 men after Anthony Gerrard saw red late on.

The Eagles were dealt a huge blow early on when defender Delaney was sent off for a foul on Jermaine Beckford.

Palace, now a man down, should have also been a goal down 10 minutes later when Joel Ward pulled down former Selhurst winger Sean Scannell in the area. Clayton stepped up to take the penalty but his weak effort was comfortably saved by Speroni, low to his right.

Moments later Speroni was at it again, superbly turning away Beckford's point-blank shot from Scannell's cross.

Huddersfield were well on top but they came close to gifting Palace the lead when Jack Hunt's pass back to goalkeeper Alex Smithies was intercepted by Glenn Murray. The 20-goal striker rounded Smithies but found the angle too tight and rolled his effort across goal.

And having weathered the early storm, the 10 men took the lead in style with seven minutes of the first half remaining.

Yannick Bolasie robbed Oliver Norwood on the right-hand corner of the penalty area and slipped in Zaha with an extravagant backheel. Zaha charged into the box, sidestepped Hunt and lashed an unstoppable shot into the roof of Smithies' net.

In first-half stoppage time, Clayton almost atoned for his penalty miss with a 20-yard curler but Speroni clawed his effort away.

However, for all Speroni's heroics before the break, he was badly at fault as Huddersfield grabbed the softest of equalisers in the 74th minute.

Palace half-cleared a corner and Southern, lurking just inside the area, helped the ball back towards goal. Beckford was standing in front of Speroni but the keeper had no excuse for allowing the ball to squirm out of his hands, through his legs and into the net.

Referee Graham Scott levelled up the numbers with 10 minutes left when he showed Gerrard a red card for a lunge on Bolasie.

Mile Jedinak went closest for Palace in the second half but his drive flew over as the hosts had to settle for a point.

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