Football

City frustrated as Eagles stop the away-day rot: Match Review

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Crystal Palace held high-flying Cardiff to a goalless draw to claim their first away point of the season in a lacklustre npower Championship encounter.

George Burley's side held the worst away record in all four English leagues going into the clash having lost all four games on their travels and conceded 12 goals in the process without scoring.

But they now have at least one away point to their name, and they were most likely to take all three against a poor Cardiff side who are desperately struggling without the services of the injured Craig Bellamy, Michael Chopra and Danny Drinkwater.

A drab first half passed by with just a single opening of note at either end, Eagles keeper Julian Speroni denying Chris Burke when through on goal and counterpart Tom Heaton saving well from Owen Garvan's header.

The goalmouth action picked up slightly after the restart and it was the struggling visitors who came closest to breaking the deadlock when Pablo Counago saw his goalbound header superbly kept out by Heaton, who had earlier denied Julian Bennett.

Despite the welcome point, it was not enough to prevent Palace from slipping into the bottom three due to results elsewhere.

Cardiff welcomed back the influential Seyi Olofinjana in midfield after injury, with Jason Koumas also stepping in to supposedly add more attacking flair after Saturday's mediocre performance in securing a 2-1 win over 10-man Millwall.

Palace boss Burley made just one change from the side hammered 5-0 at Derby, striker Counago coming in for the suspended James Vaughan.

Both sides had points to prove following disappointing displays just three days ago.

And the first clear chance of the encounter went Cardiff's way after 14 minutes but Speroni spread himself well to deny Burke who found himself clear after latching onto Heaton's long ball.

Burley, who will have been pleased with his side's attacking approach play throughout, was twice forced to shuffle his line-up inside the opening quarter having lost both Claude Davis and Neil Danns to injury.

The Londoners' first clear-cut opening came just before the half-hour mark, Garvan's header forcing a neat save from Heaton.

And that proved to be the last real opening of a low-key first half in which the visitors just about shaded possession.

Heaton was called upon to turn substitute Bennett's effort around a post as Palace made the running at the start of the second half.

The City stopper was soon called upon for a second time, producing a great save to keep out Counago's header in what was the away side's best chance of the game.

Cardiff were struggling more and more to get a grip on proceedings as the encounter wore on while goalscoring opportunities were very much at a premium over the remaining 30 minutes.

But it was Crystal Palace who looked most likely to take all three points, and it was they who would have been happier with just the one come full-time.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

Topics:
Julian Bennett
Chris Burke
James Vaughan
Football
Championship
Craig Bellamy
Neil Danns
Julian Speroni
Michael Chopra
Owen Garvan
Tom Heaton
Everton
Claude Davis
Crystal Palace
Tom Heaton
Pablo Counago
Jason Koumas
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