Crystal Palace 0 Middlesbrough 1

Last updated : 02 April 2005 By Footymad Previewer
Middlesbrough got their first away win since November as Iain Dowie's Crystal Palace lacked the quality to move out of the bottom three.

A Franck Queudrue goal ten minutes before the break was enough to provide Steve McClaren's outfit hopes of a top-six place, but for Palace it's going to need a big improvement if they are to avoid the drop.

It wasn't a classic performance from Boro, but it was a much needed win particularly after their run of recent results with just one win from the last ten.

Palace edged the first half, but Boro achieved what mattered - finding the back of the net.

Stewart Downing's corner found Queudrue who rose above the motionless Palace defence and headed firmly into the roof of the net.

Andy Johnson should have put Palace in front after just five minutes after Dougie Freedman set him up with a clever ball, but the Eagles hitman blazed wide from just ten yards out.

Boro were making greater inroads into the Palace half and Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, after Mark Schwarzer's long punt upfield, rounded Gabor Kiraly only to watch his effort roll across the goal-line and out.

Johnson then hit the post from 25 yards out and Freedman's right-foot shot somehow went through a ruck of players and wide before Queudrue's header arrived on 35 minutes.

Then just before the break Hasselbaink found Ray Parlour in space just inside the penalty area on the right side, but the ex-Gunner delayed a split second and Kiraly made a crucial block to stop Boro adding to the score at the break.

The second half was frustrating to the extent that Palace enjoyed the possession, but all too often were giving the ball away cheaply.

Meanwhile ex-Eagle Gareth Southgate was outstanding for Boro at the heart of defence and the visitors were content to sit back and tidy up with comfort.

Indeed Schwarzer made just one save and a routine one at that, from Mark Hudson.

At the other end in the Palace goal Kiraly was idle throughout which illustrates the scrappiness of the second half.

Palace were lacking in ideas and despite the non-stop running from Johnson, their only hope of pulling a rabbit out of the hat, Dowie's lads looked relegation material.

Never the less, Palace had two late chances. Schwarzer was left stranded as Freedman's 15 yard curler drifted a fraction wide and in stoppage time Johnson saw his header deflected off the line by Middlesbrough's best player, Southgate.

Man of the Match: Gareth Southgate - Was the heart and soul of the Middlesbrough defence and made decsive tackles to keep Boro in the match and Palace at bay.