Writer: Pete Dunbar
Date:Saturday August 15 2009
Darren Ambrose fired Crystal Palace through to the second round of the Carling Cup - but only after the south Londoners had made hard work of seeing off Football League new boys Torquay.
Midfielder Ambrose, a free summer signing from neighbours Charlton, scored twice in the second half with a header and a penalty either side of Tim Sills' leveller.
But not many were there to see his first goals in Palace colours with the Eagles faithful staying away in their droves and two stands of Selhurst Park not even open.
The Gulls, back in League Two after two years away, were clearly not much of a crowd-puller and they barely got out of their own half in the first 45 minutes.
Neil Danns hit the woodwork twice for Palace and Victor Moses also squandered an excellent chance when he rounded keeper Scott Bevan only to find the side-netting.
But moments after the interval it was Torquay who came agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock when Scott Rendell's header was scrambled off the goalline by Danny Butterfield.
When the opener finally arrived in the 65th minute, it went to Palace with Danns crossing from the right and Ambrose rising unmarked to head past the helpless Bevan from six yards.
Sills dragged Torquay level in the 74th minute when he met Kevin Nicholson's free-kick with a superb header, to the delight of the 400 hardy Gulls fans behind the goal.
But they were on terms for just four minutes before Chris Todd wrestled Alassane N'Diaye to the ground in the area and Ambrose dispatched the penalty to send the hosts through.
Crystal Palace Speroni, Butterfield, McCarthy, Fonte, Hill,Moses (Scannell 79), Derry, Danns, N'Diaye, Ambrose (Ertl 90),Lee (Djilali 63).
Subs Not Used: Flahavan, Clyne, Lawrence, Cadogan.
Goals: Ambrose 65, 78 pen.
Torquay Bevan, Robertson, Todd, Charnock, Nicholson, Carlisle,Thompson (Brough 90), Wroe, Stevens (Carayol 71), Sills,Rendell (Benyon 71).
Subs Not Used: Rice, Ellis, Hodges, Joyce.
Booked: Robertson, Todd.
Goals: Sills 74.
Ref: David Phillips (West Sussex).
Palace now play Man City at home in round 2
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Date:Saturday August 15 2009
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