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Palace 2-2 Blackpool: Late equaliser denies Palace three points

CRYSTAL Palace were held to a 2-2 draw against Blackpool this afternoon thanks to a late equaliser from substitute Nouha Dicko.

In a game the Eagles looked to have just done enough to claim all three points, good work by Blackpool's man of the match Wes Thomas saw Dicko fire home from close range.

Michael Appleton's side took the lead thanks to Nathan Delfouneso shortly before the break, but Owen Garvan equalised with a header minutes into the second period.

And Glenn Murray continued his fantastic form at home with his 18th goal of the season, powering home a firm header to put the Eagles 2-1 up.

But in the final minute of normal time, Dicko was on hand to stab the ball home and deny Palace of keeping up with league leaders Cardiff City.

It was a bright start for the visitors as Craig Cathcart headed over from a corner, Isaiah Osbourne scuffed a shot wide and Wes Thomas hooked an effort just the other side of Julian Speroni's post all within the first five minutes.

And they cranked up the pressure soon after with good movement down both flanks, only for Damien Delaney to do well and cut both deliveries out with Blackpool attackers lurking in front of goal.

Palace got back into the game after 15 minutes, with Garvan, Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie looking particularly bright but without testing Matt Gilks in the Blackpool goal.

Angel Martinez received the first booking of the afternoon for a lunge on Zaha, while Bolaise went into the referee's notebook soon after, which looked slightly harsh after he looked to have won the ball.

Just before the half-hour mark, Zaha had Palace's first chance on goal when he burst into the box down the right and forced a good stop from Gilks.

Glenn Murray was lurking at the back post and may have been a better option for Zaha to pick out, but it was better response from the hosts anyhow.

However, Blackpool took the lead shortly before the break. Tom Ince did well down the right before delivering a dangerous ball towards the back post and Nathan Delfouneso got in front of Darcy Blake to head downwards past Speroni.

And they went close again on two more occasions in quick succession through Wes Thomas.

The first chance saw the striker beat Blake down the left, cut back inside and shoot low towards the near post which Speroni did well to gather, while a minute later, a great ball in from the left found the frontman unmarked to head back across goal with the Argentine beaten.

On the stroke of half-time, a hard challenge on Garvan inside the box saw the home faithful screaming for a penalty, but the referee wasn't interested.

In the second-half, Palace looked for a response straight away but their over-enthusiastic play saw them play a few sloppy passes.

However, they grabbed the equaliser after 52 minutes thanks to Garvan.

Zaha burst down the right and played the ball across goal, and with no one on hand to convert, Bolasie turned the ball back into the danger area and Garvan was on hand to head home past Gilks.

And just 90 seconds later, Garvan nearly put Palace ahead when he clipped the top of the crossbar with a curling free-kick from the edge of the box.

Andre Moritz then came on for Blake soon after as manager Ian Holloway went looking for a second, while Kagisho Dikgacoi switched to right-back.

But on 64 minutes, they took the lead thanks to top goalscorer Glenn Murray, who has been in scintillating form at Selhurst Park this season.

Garvan received the ball on the left side of the box and delivered a pinpoint cross from the left and the striker rose to power home an unstoppable header into the bottom corner with Gilks stranded.

Bolasie went close to adding a third with a free-kick on the left that Gilks looked to have tipped away for a corner, but the referee decided to give a goal-kick instead to the amazement of the home faithful.

However, Blackpool grabbed an equaliser of their own in the last minute thanks to substitute Nouha Dicko.

Good play from Thomas on the right side of the box saw the striker drill the ball across the six-yard box and Dicko was on hand to stab home - and after taking his shirt off and running into the Blackpool fans, he was given a straight-forward booking.

Blackpool looked for the winner in the five minutes added on, with substitute Kevin Phillips dragging a shot wide and Ramage intercepting well from Thomas.

But that was the last of the action and Palace had to make do with just a point. Next Saturday, they travel to Birmingham City.

Palace: Speroni, Blake (Moritz 56), Parr, Ramage, Delaney, Dikgacoi, Jedinak (c), Garvan, Bolasie, Zaha, Bolasie (Moxey 90), Murray.

Subs Not Used: Price, Gabbidon, O'Keefe, Wilbraham, Easter.

Attendance: 15,954

By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson

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