Palace finally end U's play-off hopes

CRYSTAL Palace ended Colchester's slim play-off hopes with a 2-0 win thanks to a goal in each half at Layer Road.James Scowcroft gave the visitors a half-time lead before Ben Watson extended the advantage midway through the second half for the Us to fall to 10th in the Coca-Cola Championship table and Palace to climb to the top half with a 12th-place finish.

By Carl Marston

CRYSTAL Palace ended Colchester's slim play-off hopes with a 2-0 win thanks to a goal in each half at Layer Road.

James Scowcroft gave the visitors a half-time lead before Ben Watson extended the advantage midway through the second half for the Us to fall to 10th in the Coca-Cola Championship table and Palace to climb to the top half with a 12th-place finish.

Former Ipswich striker Scowcroft got his first goal since November when he headed in Jobi McAnuff's cross to give Palace an 11th-minute lead.

And midfielder Watson completed the victory with a shot which went through the legs of Us goalkeeper Dean Gerken.

Jamie Cureton was continually thwarted as Colchester tried in vain to beat Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni.

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The striker, who finished the season as the division's top scorer with 23 league goals, missed a golden opportunity to give the Us the lead after 40 seconds, drilling a right-foot shot to the right of Julian Speroni's net after racing through on goal.

McAnuff was the architect of the opening goal, which was Palace's first opportunity of the half.

The winger floated a cross from the right to the far post where Scowcroft stole in between defenders Karl Duguid and Pat Baldwin to head powerfully beyond Dean Gerken.

Palace doubled the advantage after 69 minutes when Watson beat Wayne Brown to the ball and drilled it through the legs of Gerken from 18 yards.

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