Darel Russell's second goal in three games set the Canaries on their way to another big, 1-1 draw this afternoon as the Canaries clipped the Eagles' play-off wings.
Indeed, it needed a ghastly, collective defensive lapse to gift the home side a way back into the contest as Clinton Morrison was virtually handed the freedom of the Norwich penalty area to flick his 50th minute back header home.
In fairness to the vastly-improved Canaries, City continued to press forward to the end with second-half substitute Ched Evans drilling a 89th minute effort just wide.
But with Lee Croft having teased and tormented Palace for much of the afternoon, so City for once emerged from deepest Croydon with something positive to show for their New Year efforts.
After admitting that his charges had looked tired in the 1-1 draw with Wolves, Roeder opted to hand both Darren Huckerby and Evans a place on the bench for today's trip to Selhurst Park.
With skipper Mark Fotheringham being deemed fit enough to return after his recent tight hamstring trouble, so Jimmy Smith's return to Chelsea at the end of his loan spell ensured that Roeder was also able to find a starting place for winger Croft; Matty Pattison, presumeably, adding the steel away on the left-hand side of that reworked midfield.
Slamming in Huckerby on one side and Croft on the other was clearly going rather more 'open' than Roeder would like – especially at a place like Selhurst Park. A tight and tense opening would in every likelihood follow; fun and frolics could wait for the final 30 minutes.
As for Evans' replacement, no surprise to find 38-year-old Dion Dublin making his first start of the festive break as the on-loan Manchester City youngster took his place alongside Chris Brown on the bench.
A bench that also saw Simon Lappin making a rare appearance under the Roeder regime. The one-time St Mirren wing-back was one of the so-called 'Home Park Six' whose long-term Canary future has been the subject of some speculation under the new administration. In fairness to Lappin, he has made no secret of his determination to stay and fight for his City place; today that opportunity, potentially, knocked.
As for the home side – in the midst of a 12-game unbeaten run – new Eagles boss Neil Warnock gave another opportunity to much-admired youngster Sean Scannell, while the midfield craft would come from Ben Watson.
The goals, as ever of late, would come from one-time Canary strike target Morrison who went into today's game with eight strikes from his last ten games. No-one could say that City weren't warned…
As if to hammer that point home, Morrison pinged a sharp little shot David Marshall's way with barely 90 seconds on the clock following a decent, ducking run from Tom Soares. Croft would respond with a smart run inside Clint Hill and a drive at Julian Speroni two minutes later.
All of which fired a big shot across Palace's bows – which they would ignore to their cost as City took an unexpected lead after nine minutes. Jon Otsemobor's deep throw-in found Dublin's head; his knockdown fell to Cureton whose first-time ball set Dublin free.
The world and his wife waited for the veteran striker to drive goalward, instead he had the presence of mind to pull the ball back across an open goal where a lurking Russell had the simplest of chances to smash the ball home. Coming hard on the heels of his season-opener against Charlton on Boxing Day, and it was a case of two buses coming at once for the City midfielder.
Three minutes later and Croft was fully justifying his starting role with an excellent cross back onto Dublin's head. The effort that followed had all the pace, but none of the direction to trouble Speroni. On the touchline, Warnock was by far the more animated of the managers. And with good reason. City had cut them apart twice.
At the other end and with Mo Camara keeping a tight rein on the teenage Scannell, City were holding firm – right up to the point that Danny Butterfield pinged a low, 12-yarder just wide of Marshall's right-hand post in the 26th minute.
Palace's mood wasn't helped by an early exit for Butterfield; as Palace waited to make their change, Croft found enough space to sweep a far post cross into Cureton's path. His diving header fell comfortably for an alert Speroni. Two minutes later and Cureton was latching on to a deep Marshall kick and driving straight at the Palace keeper. City's 1-0 advantage continued to be well-deserved as half-time loomed.
The second period was barely a minute old before Cureton almost doubled Norwich's lead with a fine, looping header from an excellent run and cross from Croft that Speroni could only hastily tip over. It was Norwich's seventh effort on target to Palace's two – a statistic that pretty much summed up the balance of play. The Eagles' 12-game unbeaten run was coming firmly under pressure.
Right up until the 50th minute when Ben Watson gently floated a free-kick onto the City penalty spot and there – without a Canary shirt in sight – was Morrison to guide a neat, back header inside Marshall's left-hand post. To grant that much room to a man with eight goals from his last ten games was criminal. Roeder looked on in stony silence – 50 minutes of hard work having just gone down the pan.
By the time Soares drilled a 60th minute snap-shot wide, you feared that the balance of power was shifting. To their credit, however, and the likes of Croft and Cureton continued to press and probe even if the clear-cut chances started to dwindle. There might yet be a sting in the tail as Roeder threw Huckerby and Evans into the fray for the final 13 minutes.
Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Speroni; Hill, Butterfield (Fonte, 33 mins), Lawrence, Hudson; Soares, Derry, Watson (Fletcher, 68 mins); Scannell (Freedman, 84 mins), Morrison, Scowcroft. Subs (not used): Hills, Hall.
Norwich City (4-4-2): Marshall; Otsemobor, Camara, Doherty, Shackell; Croft (Huckerby, 77 mins), Russell, Fotheringham, Pattison; Dublin, Cureton (Evans, 77 mins). Subs (not used): Arnold, Lappin, Brown.
Man of the Match: Lee Croft.
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