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Hull City 0-0 Palace: Eagles battle to a hard fought point on Humberside

CRYSTAL Palace came away with a point this evening with a goalless draw at Hull City.

The Eagles should have won it at the death when Wilfried Zaha was denied one-on-one by goalkeeper David Stockdale, but Hull will be kicking themselves for not putting the game to bed after completely dominating the first-half.

Jermaine Easter came in for the suspended Glenn Murray as Palace continud with the same shape playing a lone man in attack.

Hull had the first chance of the game when a dangerous ball in from Robbie Brady evaded everyone in the six-yard area, before Yannick Bolasie was played in on the right side of the box and forced a good low save from David Stockdale.

But back came the hosts and Sone Aluko should have put them ahead when he got in behind the Palace defence and found himself bearing down on Speroni, but his effort went across goal and Mile Jedinak cleared.

And with the rain lashing down on Humberside, they continued to up the ante when another good ball in from Brady was knocked wide from Robert Koren 12 yards out.

Koren then went close from a corner midway through the first-half when he got in front of his marker to glance a header just wide of the near post with some sections of the home crowd thinking it had crept in.

And the former West Bromwich Albion playmaker then missed an absolute sitter after 26 minutes when a ball in from the right took a deflection off Aluko into his path, but he somehow scooped the ball over from six yards with the goal at his mercy.

Wilfried Zaha was being kept quiet by the Hull rearguard but he nearly got a shot in from the edge of the box only to be blocked off, while up the other end, Koren appealed for handball from Peter Ramage inside the box but the referee wasn't interested.

Stephen Quinn was inches away from giving the home side a deserved lead when he volleyed just past the far post after a deep ball in from the right fell to him behind Joel Ward.

Koren went close again when he capitalised on a loose ball in Palace's half and sent a low curling shot towards goal, but the ball took a deflection for a corner, while Zaha and Bolasie tried to deliver balls in from the wing but to no effect.

Bolasie's was slightly better, beating the Hull left-back and crossed low for Easter but goalkeeper Stockdale got down to the ball in the nick of time.

But Palace were very lucky to be going into half-time without conceding to a rampant Hull side.

Quinn had the first chance of the second period when he burst into the box and forced Speroni to push away a fierce shot, and when the ball fell to Aluko, his follow-up deflected off Ramage for a corner.

Aluko then bent a free-kick over the Palace wall from 20 yards out but the ball went just over the bar, before David Meyler was booked for a late challenge on Jedinak in the middle of the park.

Brady then went close at the back post following another dangerous ball in from the right, while Aaron Wilbraham came on for Easter on the hour-mark.

Speroni stayed big moments later when the ball found its way to Koren at the back post and the attacker's shot was blocked well by the custodian.

Koren and Aluko were then taken off surprisingly, while Zaha was brought down twice with no free-kick given at the other end.

However, Palace were furious when Zaha found himself through on goal and was taken out by what looked like the last man for Hull, but the referee only brandished a yellow card, which infuriated Holloway and the Palace supporters.

It kicked the Eagles into action and all of a sudden, they woke up after their poor first-half showing.

Zaha weaved his way in and out a couple of times, while Bolasie was trying to get the beating of the full-back down the left.

And with the clock ticking down, the winger could have snatched all three points when he pounced on a weak back-pass intended for either Paul McShane or Stockdale, but drilled a low shot inches past the post.

But Speroni then pulled off a world class save to keep Palace in the match a minute later.

Substitute Aaron McLean turned Delaney in the box and shot low towards the bottom corner, but somehow the Argentine stuck out a hand to palm the ball past the post for a corner.

Five minutes were added on at the end and McLean tested Speroni again with a firm header, which he held on the goal-line, while Zaha burst away down the right only to be deliberately clipped by a Hull player, who received a booking.

But with the final kick of the game, Zaha should have won the contest and taken three points back to south London.

The winger received the ball in the box, turned in and out of a couple of defenders and found himself in front of goal with only Stockdale to beat, but the on-loan Fulham man pulled off a great save.

But the Eagles can take some heart from a positive display in the final 20 minutes and hopefully start a lot better at Selhurst for the big one on Saturday against Brighton & Hove Albion.

Palace: Speroni, Ward, Parr, Ramage, Delaney, Dikgacoi, Jedinak (c), Garvan, Zaha, Bolasie, Easter (Wilbraham 60).

Subs Not Used:
Price, Martin, Gabbidon, Moxey, O'Keefe, Appiah.

Attendance: 16,656

By Croydon Advertiser Sports Reporter Mark Ritson

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