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Palace await winners

Filed: Monday, 17th May 2004
By: Graeme Howlett

West Ham or Ipswich will face Crystal Palace in the First Division play-off final after the Londoners beat Sunderland on penalties at the Stadium of Light tonight.

Lady luck smiled on the Eagles yet again tonight as they took the game into extra-time by virtue of a 90th minute goal, despite having been reduced to 10 men earlier in the second half.

With no more score in extra-time the game went to penalties - and Palace, who missed three times themselves, won a dramatic contest with their EIGHTH kick.

Of course, Palace were only in the play-offs courtesy of Brian Deane's 90th minute equaliser at Wigan a fortnight ago - and even the most biased Palace fan would be forced to admit that their progress to the final has been a touch fortunate!

As for West Ham, Alan Pardew is expected to name much the same side as that which lost 1-0 at Portman Road in the semi-final first leg against Ipswich last Saturday.

Speaking earlier today, the Hammers boss urged the crowd to make the atmosphere at Upton Park as intimidating as possible when the two sides step out onto the pitch tomorrow night.

Talking on the club's website this afternoon - and hinting of a few surprises ahead of the game - Pardew said:

"We have put things in place to gee the supporters up and create the right atmosphere - but it all starts and ends with what the team does.

"There is no doubt the fans are a major factor - the best in the country - and we could be one of the top six clubs in the country.

"I want the players to wear their shirts with the same pride that the supporters do."

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