Crystal Palace 0-0 Bolton Wanderers

  • January 19, 2013 | By Chris Mann
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Dougie Freedman's return to Crystal Palace failed to live up to the hype, as Bolton were held to a goalless draw at Selhurst Park.

Doubts were cast over the game in the 24 hours prior to kick-off, with heavy snow and freezing conditions hitting most of the country. Following a morning pitch inspection, referee Robert Madley decided the game would go ahead.

Both sides saw multiple penalty appeals turned down throughout the course of the 90 minutes, while Palace came closest to a winner when Glenn Murray had a goal disallowed for offside just before the break. However, the match would end goalless, as both sides continue to struggle for form.

On the back of a 2-0 victory at Sunderland on Tuesday night, Wanderers made five changes to the side started at the Stadium of Light, with Adam Bogdan, Tim Ream, Lee Chung-Yong, Keith Andrews and Kevin Davies all returning to the side.

The visitors came close to breaking the deadlock inside the opening 20 seconds, as Chris Eagles saw a strike from distance fly inches wide of Julian Speroni's goal - with the Palace goalkeeper seemingly beaten.

Aside from that early effort, neither side had any real attacking momentum inside the first 20 minutes - although both were seeing plenty of the ball in midfield.

With 24 minutes on the clock, there were boos echoing around the stadium. They were aimed at Wanderers midfielder, Eagles, who had been shown a yellow card for diving on the edge of the Palace box. Television replays showed the former Manchester United man had been clipped, but he made the most of a stumble and deservedly went into the referee's notebook.

In response to his booking, Eagles picked himself up and brought a fine save out of Speroni with another strike from outside the box. His shot looked destined for the bottom corner, but for a full-stretch stop from the Palace stopper.

Just after the half hour, Eagles released Tyrone Mears down the right flank. The Wanderers full-back was credited with an assist at Sunderland in midweek and should have had another, but an unmarked Darren Pratley could only succeed in heading his cross wide of the target.

With a booking already to his name, Eagles was perhaps a little lucky to remain on the field with 34 minutes gone. Seething from a rejected penalty appeal, after the ball appeared to hit the arm of Mears, Palace's Dean Moxey was guilty of an awful challenge on the Bolton midfielder. Moxey was correctly shown a yellow card, while Eagles was fortunate to escape for his reaction to the challenge.

Andrews was next to have his name taken, for a challenge on Wilfried Zaha, before Palace thought they had taken the lead four minutes before the break.

Bogdan could only parry a long-distance shot from Yannick Bolasie, allowing Murray to slot the rebound into the net. The Championship's leading goalscorer turned away to celebrate, only to see his effort ruled out by an offside flag.

Eagles, Chung-Yong and Kevin Davies all saw shots blocked or claimed by Speroni in the closing moments of the half, as the two sides went in level at the interval.

Both sides came out unchanged at the start of the second half, which continued just as the first had finished - with both teams enjoying large spells of possession, without having any serious efforts on goal.

Pratley became the third Wanderers player to be booked ten minutes after the break, while the visitor's first chance of the second period arrived just before the hour. Kevin Davies came within inches of making contact with a Chung-Yong cross, before Eagles reacted smartly to shoot just wide of the far post.

After surviving a penalty scare in the first half, Bolton saw appeals for one of their own turned down shortly afterwards. Just as he did in midweek, a bursting run from Pratley resulted in him going down in the side box. The referee pointed to the spot at Sunderland, but, on this occasion, the Wanderers midfielder was told to get to his feet by the referee.

With 64 minutes gone, Palace came close to breaking the deadlock. Zaha managed to race away from Marcos Alonso, before seeing his shot cannon back off the post. Andre Moritz followed up, but saw his rebound flash just wide of the target.

As the game entered the final 20 minutes, Alonso came close to scoring at the other end. After Palace could only half-clear a corner, the loose ball fell at the feet of the Spaniard. His shot appeared to be on target, before being deflected behind by the body of an Eagles defender.

Andrews has been in good goalscoring form in recent weeks, albeit from the penalty spot, and he came close to scoring his first open play goal for Bolton with 15 minutes to go. The Republic of Ireland international is known for his powerful strikes from distance and he almost caught out Speroni, who managed to claim the ball at the second attempt.

A series of changes saw Josh Vela, David Ngog and Craig Davies all enter the fray, with the latter making his Bolton debut. Those substitutions had little impact on the game, however, and Palace came close to a winner in the final moments of normal time, only for Zaha's bending shot from the left flank to curl inches wide of Bogdan's far post.

Bogdan was alert to keep out a powerful strike from Alex Marrow in stoppage time, as Wanderers held on to claim their first away clean sheet in the league since the opening day of the 2011/12 campaign. Combined with the midweek shutout at Sunderland, Bolton have now claimed back-to-back clean sheets on the road for the first time since February 2011.

They will go in search of a third successive clean sheet when they host Everton in the FA Cup next Saturday. Bolton return to league action in a fortnight, when they face high-flying Watford at Vicarage Road.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Parr, Delaney, Ramage (Marrow 73), Moxey, Nimely (Moritz 52), Jedinak, Butterfield (Williams 75), Bolasie, Zaha, Murray
Subs Not Used: Price, Wilbraham, Easter, O'Keefe
Booked: Moxey

Bolton Wanderers: Bogdan, Mears, Ream, Knight, Alonso, Chung-Yong, Spearing, Andrews (Vela 76), Eagles, Pratley (C Davies 85), K Davies (Ngog 85)
Subs Not Used: Lonergan, Afobe, Ricketts, Sordell
Booked: Eagles, Andrews, Pratley

Referee: Robert Madley
Attendance: 17,033

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Sky Bet League One Standings

Pos Team Pld Pts
19 Rochdale 32 33
20 AFC Wimbledon 33 31
21 Tranmere Rovers 31 23
22 Southend United 33 16
23 Bolton Wanderers 30 11
View Full Standings >>


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