Birmingham held by 10-man Palace

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Football News

Birmingham blew the chance to close the gap on Coca-Cola Championship leaders Wolves to just one point as 10-man Crystal Palace held out for a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

Marcus Bent, Lee Bowyer, Cameron Jerome and new Honduran forward Carlos Costly fluffed their lines in front of goal for the second-placed Blues.

And the misses could indeed prove costly come May with Reading still breathing down their necks in third as the automatic promotion race gathers pace. Palace played the final quarter of an hour a man down following Nick Carle's dismissal for a crude challenge on Jerome but the Blues could not take advantage.

Birmingham should have opened the scoring on the half-hour when Bent got in front of his marker and met a fine Sebastian Larsson cross with a firm header, but the ball flew inches wide.

As the interval approached a comical mix-up between Stephen Carr and Maik Taylor almost let in Alan Lee, but the Palace striker could not finish. The City keeper made amends moments later by blocking Neil Danns' shot - although the ex-Birmingham midfielder was adamant he should have had a penalty for a shirt-pull.

Birmingham missed two gilt-edged chances to take the lead in quick succession after the break.

A hashed clearance from Jose Fonte fell to Bowyer in front of goal, but the on-loan West Ham midfielder inexplicably prodded the ball wide. And moments later Costly was put through by Larsson but got stage fright and snatched at his shot, missing the target by five yards.

When Moses was stretchered off with what appeared to be a hamstring injury, most of Palace's creative spark left with him.

McLeish and Warnock cut frustrated figures on the touchline as passes went astray and attacks broke down - and the latter's mood was not improved by a straight red card for midfielder Carle in the 76th minute for lunging in at Jerome.

Fahey sent a powerful header wide and Jerome somehow missed a stoppage-time cross on the goal-line with Birmingham unable to force a winner.

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Nick Carle
Bristol City
Lee Bowyer
Alan Lee
Carlos Costly
Jose Fonte
Neil Danns
Marcus Bent
Nick Carle
Crystal Palace
Wolverhampton Wanderers
Sebastian Larsson
Maik Taylor

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