A CONTROVERSIAL late penalty against Barnsley saw the Tykes lose 2-1 away at struggling Crystal Palace, writes Digital Editor Graham Walker.
James Vaughan’s 75th-minute penalty saw the Eagles soar seven points clear of the bottom three in the npower Championship.
Neil Danns put the hosts in front at Selhurst Park in the 29th minute, but Marlon Harewood brought Barnsley level two minutes before the break with his third goal since joining on loan from Blackpool.
Goalkeeper Luke Steele looked like he might earn Barnsley a point with a host of impressive saves in the second half, keeping out Danns’ rasping drive that looked destined for the top corner and then stopping Vaughan’s point-blank header.
But referee Karl Evans gave Palace the decisive spot-kick after Diego Arismendi climbed on Vaughan’s back in the area and the striker went to ground.
Barnsley manager Mark Robins was adamant the penalty should never have been given.
He said: “If that was a penalty then there should have been four or five because there was a lot of pulling and pushing in the box by both sides.
“I am disappointed that we could not get the second goal. We did all right and I am happy with some of what I saw.”
Palace boss Dougie Freedman claimed he was now looking up the table rather than back at the relegation zone following today’s win.
They remain just one place above third-bottom Sheffield United, but the cushion now looks a comfortable one.
Freedman said: “I am looking forward now. I know I have a group of players who can finish three or four places higher than we are.
“The pressure is on us to get up those three places from where we are. But this was a good win, a good performance.”
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RESULTS: Saturday, April 2, 2011:
Crystal Palace v Barnsley (HT:1-1) 2-1
Bristol City v Doncaster Rovers (HT: 0-0) 1-0
Sheffield Wednesday v Colchester (HT: 1-0) 2-1
Chesterfield v Port Vale (HT: 0-0) 2-0
Rotherham United v Morecambe (HT:0-0) 0-1
Monday, April 4:
QPR v Sheffield United (Kick off 7.45pm)
Tuesday, April 5:
Sheffield Wednesday v Tranmere