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Palace 0-0 Stoke City: Eagles more than match Stoke in goalless FA Cup draw

CRYSTAL Palace and Stoke City played out an entertaining goalless draw in the third round of the FA Cup this afternoon.

The Eagles more than matched their Premier League opponents throughout and had the better of the chances too.

But they will now travel to the Britannia Stadium for the replay on Tuesday, January 15.

Just two minutes were on the clock when Palace created the first chance of the match when Jermaine Easter cut inside from the left and forced Thomas Sorensen into a fine parry.

And the Eagles nearly converted the follow-up through good link-up play from Wilfried Zaha and Yannick Bolasie, but the visitors managed to clear their lines.

Stoke had a great chance to open the scoring when old England pair Michael Owen and Peter Crouch combined inside the box following the corner, which saw the latter scuff a shot wide from just three yards out.

Palace midfielder Stuart O'Keefe received the first yellow card of the afternoon when he lunged in on Jonathan Walters, and following the free-kick, Ryan Shotton raced down the right and delivered for Crouch, but the tall striker headed woefully over.

Walters went in the book for a late challenge on Dean Moxey on the half-hour mark, and from the resulting free-kick, Sorensen punched clear, but the ball fell to Moxey to shoot back towards goal, only for a Stoke defender to put in a timely block.

Andre Moritz, who scored two goals on New Year's Day against Wolves, then went very close to grabbing the first goal of the afternoon for Palace when he found space inside the box before opening up his body and curling an effort towards goal, but it went inches wide.

Zaha was next to go close shortly before the break when he forced Sorensen into another top save with a ferocious shot on the right side of the danger area.

And the winger was then caught late by a Shotton down by the left touchline, but the referee gave nothing, to the annoyance of Ian Holloway and Keith Millen on the touchline.

Bolasie had the first chance of the second period when he found space in the middle of the park but scuffed a shot wide from a full 25-yards out, while Zaha nearly danced his way through the Stoke defence moments later but the ball was eventually cleared away.

Michael Kightly had the next chance of the match but shot high and wide of Lewis Price's goal, before Moritz had a great chance at the other end to draw first blood but he scuffed a shot over from inside the box after a strong run from Bolasie.

And Bolasie tested Sorensen soon after with a low shot, before Zaha limped off and was replaced by Jonathan Williams.

Stoke made a couple of changes, sending on Charlie Adam and Cameron Jerome for Owen and Kightly, and Jerome had a shot well saved by Price from the edge of the box minutes after his introduction.

Williams looked bright after his arrival as well, and there was a slight worry when he seemed to pull up with an injury but he gave the thumbs-up to the bench to the relief of the Palace faithful.

Kwesi Appiah replaced Easter in attack midway through the half, while Jason Banton came on for Bolasie to make his first-team debut shortly after.

And the youngster had a great chance to show Selhurst Park what he could do when Moritz played a great through-ball to him on the left side of the box, but he shot wide of the near post with a couple of team-mates waiting in the centre.

Banton was then at the heart of Palace's next attack when he motored down the left and cut inside, and despite a slight touch from a Stoke defender, he decided to stay on his feet.

The ball fell to Appiah on the edge of the box and the striker played Williams in on the right, but his low shot was well saved by Sorensen down to his right.

With four minutes added on, Stoke full-back Cameron delivered a great ball across goal, but thankfully for Palace no one was on the end of it.

Peter Ramage fired over the final chance of the match when he looked to get on the end of a free-kick, but the Eagles will now travel to Stoke for the replay in ten days time.

Palace: Price, Parr, Moxey, Ramage, Delaney, O'Keefe, Jedinak, Bolasie (Banton 69), Zaha (Williams 55), Moritz, Easter (Appiah 66).

Subs Not Used: Fitzsimons, Parsons, Wynter, Taylor.

Attendance: 13,693

By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson

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