Queudrue - 'Heads You Win'!

Last updated : 04 November 2009 By Boro Mad

2004/5 PALACE 0 BORO 1

PALACE:  Kiraly, Leigertwood, Hall, Hudson, Granville (Borrowdale 54), Routledge, Riihilahti (Andrews 79), Hughes, Soares (Lakis 71), Johnson, Freedman.

BORO: Schwarzer, Parnaby, Riggott, Southgate, Queudrue, Parlour, Boateng, Zenden (Doriva 53), Downing, Viduka (Nemeth 12), Hasselbaink, Nemeth (Graham 80).

Att: 24,274


Boro had taken just seven points from their last 10 matches before the match and were in danger of dropping out of the race for a UEFA Cup spot altogether after challenging for a Champions League place in the first half of the campaign.

But Queudrue pounced in the 35th minute to hand Steve McClaren's men their first away victory in the Barclays Premiership since November, plunging Palace into further relegation trouble in the process.

Eagles boss Iain Dowie could justifiably feel aggrieved at the final result given that Palace were the more threatening side for long spells, or at least until the final half-hour when both sides were poor.

Dowie declared this week he wanted to turn Selhurst Park into a fortress but for that to happen he will need a significant improvement from his defenders, whose inertia led to Queudrue's goal.

Two fine chances fell to Anddrew Johnson - available after overcoming the foot injury which forced him to sit out the World Cup qualifiers against Northern Ireland and Azerbaijan - but the England striker squandered both.

Johnson missed a glorious opportunity to give Palace an early lead after a perfect flick-on from Dougie Freedman meant the England striker had just Mark Schwarzer to beat but his shot crept wide of the left post.

Tom Soares fired a promising cross from the left but Johnson failed to stay on his feet as he tried to control the ball in what was proving to be a very encouraging opening spell for Palace.

Boro's problems deepened when Mark Viduka - making his first start since damaging his hamstring on Boxing Day - limped off in the 12th minute with an recurrence of the injury and Szilard Nemeth came on as replacement.

The visitors should then have taken the lead, however, when Schwarzer's long clearance found Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who shrugged off defender Mark Hudson and rounded keeper Gabor Kiraly only to miss the open goal from an acute angle.

Johnson hit the right post after charging infield and trying his luck and his follow-up attempt also met with failure, falling into the arms of Schwarzer.

Kiraly - who sported his trademark tracksuit bottoms once again after declining to use them in the 4-1 thrashing by Chelsea - easily dealt with a Parlour cross as Boro probed down the right.

Soares tested Schwarzer with a fine effort which would have troubled the Australian keeper had it been a little less central but it was McClaren's side who took the lead following a defensive lapse from Palace.

Stewart Downing floated an inch-perfect corner in from the left and left-back Queudrue was able to leap into the air unchallenged, despite the close proximity of three defenders, and nod home.

Johnson immediately set about grabbing the equaliser but his rasping drive was deflected away from danger while Freedman blasted wide a heartbeat later.

Downing skipped infield two minutes after the restart and found Hasselbaink who forced a superb save from Kiraly. Chris Riggott failed to threaten with his effort at the ensuing corner.

Johnson had a header deflected to safety following a Wayne Routledge corner while moments later Gary Borrowdale was guilty of a dreadful shot after being teed up by Freedman with the ball ending up on the sideline.

A sloppy challenge from Riggott on Freedman resulted in a free-kick which Johnson drilled into the wall but Palace, who had shaded the game overall despite trailing, were fading as an attacking force.

Boro offered little in the way of enterprise themselves and seemed content to sit back on their lead - a gameplan they had little trouble enforcing given the lack of pressure coming from the home side.

Downing still looked lively though and he forced Kiraly into making a hasty save with one sweetly struck drive from a tricky angle. In contrast, Fitz Hall blazed over with a dismal effort shortly after.

A curling long-range strike from Routledge bounced inches wide and Johnson was denied in the dying moments by an excellent save from Schwarzer as Palace tried in vain to salvage a late point.