Nottingham Forest 3 Crystal Palace 2

Last updated : 13 March 2004 By Footymad Previewer

A five-goal thriller at the City Ground was a match for the neutral spectator as Forest managed to hold on for the three points despite Crystal Palace's determination for the majority of this match.

With three minutes on the clock Palace failed to clear a corner with the ball falling to Forest Gareth Williams, who had been reinstated to Forest's opening line-up for the match.

He sidestepped two defenders and slotted the ball low and hard passed an outstretched Cedric Berthelin.

Ten minutes later Joe Kinnear's men doubled their lead. Gareth Taylor found on-loan Nick Barmby, who slotted a left-footed pass to Andrew Reid, who blasted home from seven yards out.

Julian Gray had a shot cleared off the line by Mathieu Louis-Jean, this was due to a mistake by Forest keeper Barry Roche who failed to hold on to a swinging cross.

Crystal Palace didn't let the scoreline get to them and pressured Forest, testing Roche on more than one occasion. This was at the expense of their defence as Forest continued to find out. This made for some entertaining football.

Ten minutes into the second half Forest replaced Alan Rogers with favourite Des Walker who unusually was placed at left-back.

Palace were rewarded for their persistence as ex-Forest player and Palace captain Neil Shipperley made full contact with a whipped in cross to score from three yards out.

A minute later Danny Butterfield came close with an effort that fell inches wide.

Midway through the second half Williams got Forest's third and his second of the day as he converted Reid's cross.

Palace still wouldn't lie down and from the kick-off Wayne Routledge found the head of Danny Granville to make it 3-2.

In the last minute Routledge let rip with a 20-yard volley, beating the outstretched keeper, but was denied by the crossbar.