Whaley winner maintains record
David Cuffley Crystal Palace 0, Norwich City 1: Simon Whaley broke the deadlock - and the relative silence of a subdued Selhurst Park - to give Norwich City another encouraging pre-season victory last night.
Crystal Palace 0, Norwich City 1
Simon Whaley broke the deadlock - and the relative silence of a subdued Selhurst Park - to give Norwich City another encouraging pre-season victory last night.
The winger's 64th-minute goal against Crystal Palace maintained the Canaries' unbeaten run in their warm-up matches as he made his first start since completing his move from Preston North End.
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Striker Grant Holt got the better of Palace defender Patrick McCarthy to pull the ball back for Whaley to drill home a low right-foot shot, to the delight of City's small band of travelling fans.
Manager Bryan Gunn was pleased with Whaley's contribution as he gradually found his feet after a patchy first-half performance.
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“It was Simon's first full start for the club and I think he showed in flashes that he'll be an important player for us during the season,” said Gunn.
“He's got pace to burn and when he gets into those positions inside the penalty box, it's good to see one thing on his mind and a good first-time strike in the back of the net.
“We know he can do that and on a number of occasions we saw him get into wide areas and put crosses in. That's the reason we brought him to the club and we hope the Norwich fans will see the best of him.”
Gunn fielded six of his summer signings in his starting line-up and Holt, given just nine minutes against a Manchester United XI on Saturday, was arguably the pick of them - apart from a glaring miss when he fired wide one minute before Whaley struck - before hobbling off with 20 minutes left after taking a knock on the foot.
The first half produced few highlights but there was an escape for Palace after 18 minutes when the lively Wes Hoolahan's inswinging corner hit the woodwork.
The hosts almost broke the deadlock less than a minute after the break when former City loan striker Alan Lee forced a corner and Clint Hill's powerful header was cleared by Gary Doherty from almost on the goalline.
Matthew Gill had the ball in the net direct from an inswinging corner after 50 minutes, but the goal was disallowed for a foul by Doherty on goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
Full-back Adam Drury was in the wars when he needed treatment after a crunching blow on the right ankle when he was challenged by Sean Scannell for a 50-50 ball.
Goalkeeper Michael Theoklitos preserved City's lead when he dived to his right to turn a low drive from Freddie Sears round the post.
Gunn said he hoped City's victory was the signal for improved performances on the road, where they won just three times last season.
He said: “It was a good physical encounter and something we expect to come up against on many occasions next season in League One. But we stood up to it and got the victory away from home.
“Once we got the ball down and passed it we showed our qualities and the more often we do that, the more often we'll win games.
“I hope the fans that were here tonight saw another side of Norwich City, one that will dig in next season and go and win away from home. That's important if we're going to succeed in League One.”
Crystal Palace (4-3-3) - Speroni; Clyne (Butterfield, 72 min), Fonte, McCarthy, Hill (Cox, 85 min); Derry (N'Daye, 90 min), Danns, Carle (Hills, 72 min); Sears, Lee (Lawrence, 72 min), Moses (Scannell, 45 min). Subs (not used) Flahavan, Ertle.
Norwich City (4-4-2) - Theoklitos; Spillane, Doherty, Nelson (Bright, 80 min), Drury (Otsemobor, 79 min); Whaley (McVeigh, 87 min), Gill, Tudur Jones (Adeyemi, 85 min), Hoolahan; Martin, Holt (Lappin, 69 min). Subs (not used) Alnwick, Cureton, Dumic.
Referee - David Phillips (Sussex).
Attendance - 2,216.