Crystal Palace 1, Norwich City 0
Substitute Nathaniel Pinney struck 90 seconds from time to inflict Norwich City’s first pre-season defeat at Selhurst Park last night.
Pinney, introduced just seven minutes from time, rounded goalkeeper John Ruddy before rolling in the winner to the delight of an appreciative home crowd.
The Canaries’ pre-season goal rush dried up as they got to grips with more challenging opponents in the shape of their old Championship adversaries.
City began the match with nine of last season’s squad on the field, and defender Ritchie De Laet and midfielder Bradley Johnson the only new signings to start.
Simeon Jackson was denied the chance of an early goal by a timely challenge from Palace skipper Paddy McCarthy as he pursued Marc Tierney’s through-ball, while De Laet’s challenge snuffed out a dangerous run by Sean Scannell at the other end.
Summer signing Glenn Murray fired wide in the 12th minute with Palace’s first attempt on goal.
Johnson sliced a 20-yard drive wide of the target midway through the half, but neither goalkeeper was troubled in the opening quarter of the match.
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De Laet’s pace and tight control stood out in the opening half as the Canaries began to produce some slick passing football.
Jackson curled a right-foot shot just off target after 28 minutes, and Johnson glanced a header wide from a Grant Holt cross.
Chris Martin did just enough to deny Holt a golden chance to open the scoring,Tierney’s cross brushing his head as he dived in front of the skipper, who was better placed.
There was an escape on the stroke of half-time, however, when De Laet cleared off the line after Jermaine Easter connected with Darren Ambrose’s low cross. Palace appealed for the goal, but referee Miller waved play on.
Home ‘keeper Julian Speroni made a fine save four minutes after the break as Chris Martin connected well with Russell Martin’s cross, and David Fox tested Speroni with a long-range effort.
Ambrose shot into the side netting when most of the home crowd thought the ball was in, and an Ambrose volley struck Tierney.
With City making one change at the interval and a further nine in the space of four minutes around the hour mark, it was a very different line-up that finished the match.
Steve Morison had the ball in the net but the offside flag was up, and George Francomb planted a free header wide of the target.
City were punished for their wayward finishing when Pinney finished the night with a flourish.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Clyne (Dorman, 66), McCarthy (Marrow, 66 min), Davies (Prillault, 45), Parsons; Ambrose (Cadogan, 83), Garvan (O’Keefe, 83) Wright (Caprice, 83), Scannell (Pinney, 83); Murray (Williams, 77), Easter (Zaha, 60).
Norwich City: Ruddy; R Martin (K Smith, 63), Barnett (Whitbread, 63), De Laet (Francomb, 63), Tierney (Lappin, 62); Fox (Bennett, 62); Crofts (Adeyemi, 62), Johnson (Surman, 45); C Martin (Hoolahan, 59); Holt (Morison, 59), Jackson (Wilbraham, 59). Subs (not used): Rudd, Dawkin, Brindley.
Referee: Pat Miller (Bedfordshire)
Goal: Palace: Pinney (89)