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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 December, 2004, 17:02 GMT
C Palace 0-0 Blackburn
Palace's Gabor Kiraly denies Blackburn's Lucas Neill
A goalless draw failed to help the plight of either team at the wrong end of the Premiership table.

Palace goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly kept his side in the game in a one-way first half with a string of saves.

Blackburn's Brad Friedel was finally called into action midway through the second half when he tipped a long-range Andy Johnson shot onto his post.

Rovers substitute David Thompson was dismissed after two yellow cards in a tense, bad-tempered finale.

That Palace were still in the game in the dying moments was down to one man - Kiraly.

While Friedel had nothing of note to do in the first half, Kiraly was on song to deny Rovers time and again.

The tracksuited Hungarian may not look the most of athletic goalkeepers - but try telling that to Paul Dickov and Jay Bothroyd.

Dickov was the first of the visiting strikers to be thwarted when Barry Ferguson caught the Palace defence napping with a quickly-taken free-kick.

Bothroyd met his floated dead ball, knocking it down into Dickov's path, but the Scot was unable to beat Kiraly and saw Bothroyd take an air-shot at the rebound.

When Lucas Neill found himself bearing down on goal in the right-hand channel, the imposing Kiraly shepherded him wide before pulling off a double save.

He blocked the Australian's effort and was quickly back on to his feet, spreading himself to deflect another Bothroyd follow up.

Before long, Kiraly was called back into action, palming clear Craig Short's thumping volley.

Rovers may not have yet turned the corner after their woeful start to the season, but Mark Hughes' team defended from the front.

And that forced Palace boss Iain Dowie to change things early after the break, bringing on the diminutive Wayne Andrews for his debut up front.

The substitution opened up the game as both teams went for the three points.

But the closest either team came to breaking the deadlock was when Johnson's low, edge-of-the-area effort was turned onto the post by Friedel's finger-tips.

Thompson lasted barely 15 minutes before being sent off.

But despite the man advantage, Palace could not fashion another telling chance.


Crystal Palace: Kiraly, Boyce, Hall, Popovic, Granville, Routledge (Torghelle 82), Riihilahti (Andrews 53), Watson, Hughes, Kolkka (Lakis 73), Johnson.
Subs Not Used: Speroni, Leigertwood.

Booked: Hughes, Torghelle, Andrews.

Blackburn: Friedel, Neill, Short, Todd, Matteo, Reid (Thompson 71), Flitcroft, Ferguson, Emerton, Dickov, Bothroyd (Stead 80).
Subs Not Used: Enckelman, Johansson, Gallagher.

Sent Off: Thompson (88).

Booked: Dickov, Todd, Thompson.

Att: 22,010

Ref: A Wiley (Staffordshire).




WATCH AND LISTEN
Interview: Crystal Palace manager Iain Dowie


Interview: Blackburn Rovers boss Mark Hughes




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