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Palace midfielder McArthur makes his mark in Potters draw

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BOSS Neil Warnock praised James McArthur's performance in the Eagles' 1-1 draw with Stoke City on Saturday.

The midfielder scored his first goal for the club by heading home Yannick Bolasie's cross after just 11 minutes, before putting in another steely display.

"The lads have really given me everything, I can't complain at all – I thought we slightly shaded it and I'm disappointed not to get three points," said Warnock.

"It was nice to get James McArthur on the scoresheet. We've got to get him and Joe Ledley scoring more goals. With the way Yannick Bolasie and Wilf Zaha or Jason Puncheon create things, we've got to get more goals from other areas.

Asked whether it was McArthur's best display in a Palace shirt, Warnock said: "I think he's had six or seven like that, if I'm honest."

"I just feel that he complements the set-up and it gives Yannick a little more freedom and Wilfried because he does get into the box at the same time as defend so it was really pleasing.

"I've been ribbing him this week about not scoring. I asked him if he'd scored this year and he said 'Yeah, once at Wigan', so he's been due one and it was good to see that. It won't do him any harm."

Warnock is well aware Palace could have picked up more points if they had been ruthless in recent matches.

He said: "I think that's five games, really, where we could have and should have won so we've just got to convert more of our chances and opportunities.

"I always feel we have good balance, we've got decent creativity and we're just not taking our opportunities.

In a cagey opening ten minutes, both sides looked to get going without creating any real chances.

But then, in the space of 90 seconds, the game had witnessed two goals. Palace opened the scoring when Bolasie got down the left and delivered for McArthur to score his first for the club with a looping header over Asmir Begovic.

Moments later, the home fans' celebrations were cut short as Peter Crouch levelled. Bojan Krkic squared to Jonathan Walters from the right, the attacking midfielder's goalbound shot was deflected and Crouch was unmarked at the back post to sweep home.

Just shy of the hour-mark, McArthur nearly found himself on the scoresheet again. Bolasie beat a couple of players before sliding in the Scotsman, who turned sharply and saw his effort saved by Begovic.

It was hardly a classic in south London, with very few chances at either end afterwards.

Into the second period and Palace had a chance to restore their lead with a free-kick out on the left.

After a clever routine by McArthur and Bolasie, the ball was struck towards goal by Jedinak but deflected up and over for a corner.

McArthur, on the lookout for his second Palace goal, nearly got it when he curled a shot towards the bottom corner from the edge of the box but Begovic got down superbly to claw away.

Warnock decided to make a change on the hour, with Jason Puncheon coming on for Zaha. And as much as the Eagles looked good going forward, it was trying to find someone to put it in the back of the net that was proving difficult.

It seemed a matter of time before a potential change, with Dwight Gayle and Fraizer Campbell on the substitutes' bench ready and waiting.

Indeed, the former came on for the Moroccan, who limped off towards the changing rooms.

With the clock ticking down, Barry Bannan also came on for the hard-working McArthur before Stoke nearly snatched three points through Crouch, but Speroni leapt to his left to save.

Three minutes were added on by referee Kevin Friend but the best thing he could have done was to put the fans out of their misery.

And with no further chances to report on, he did just that.

Palace move up on to 15 points, one point outside the drop zone.

Palace midfielder McArthur makes his mark  in Potters draw


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