Friday 15 December 2017

Clinical Eagles off to flying start

Norwich City1-3 Crystal Palace

Norwich's Steven Whittaker battles with Wilfried Zaha for the ball
Norwich's Steven Whittaker battles with Wilfried Zaha for the ball
Norwich City's Robbie Brady meets Jason Puncheon in the air as they battle for the ball
Wilfried Zaha celebrates with his teammates after scoring Palace's first goal this term
Norwich City's Nathan Redmond powers in a 69th minute effort to make it 1-2
Mile Jedinak of Crystal Palace signals to the crowd as he celebrates his team's 3-1 victory over Norwich City

Jim Van Wijk

Alex Neil was left frustrated after two controversial decisions by rookie referee Simon Hooper cost his side at Carrow Road.

After a positive start by last season's Sky Bet Championship play-off winners, when striker Lewis Grabban had a great early chance, Palace went ahead with a well-taken finish from Wilfried Zaha. The Eagles doubled their lead at the start of the second half through Damien Delaney.

However, substitute Nathan Redmond gave the Canaries hope with a 25-yard strike after 69 minutes before striker Cameron Jerome thought he had hooked in an equaliser - only for the goal to be ruled out for dangerous play.

After the referee also turned down a late penalty appeal when Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong looked to have been pushed in the back by Connor Wickham, Palace scored a third in stoppage time through Yohan Cabaye, condemning Neil to defeat in his first match as a Premier League manager. Hooper was taking charge of his first Premier League game.

Neil said of the big decisions: "I am not going to sit here and criticise the referee, because they have difficult jobs, but when it affects the game and you potentially getting a point or three points, then it is frustrating."

Palace boss Alan Pardew could see the Jerome disallowed goal decision from both sides. Pardew said: "To be fair to the referee, if that is anywhere else on the pitch, then you are going to get a foul."

Neil felt Norwich should have made more of their early promise. He said: "We had enough chances, but at this level it is about turning that dominance into goals, and when you do not do that you will get punished at times."

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