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Monday 10 December 2018

Bottom Palace grab a share of the spoils

Brighton 0 Crystal Palace 0

Brighton’s Shane Duffy
Brighton’s Shane Duffy

Premier League strugglers Crystal Palace picked up their first away point of the season after they were held to a goalless draw at bitter rivals Brighton.

Roy Hodgson's bottom-of-the-table Eagles edged a tight contest at a sold-out Amex Stadium but they were unable to make a breakthrough as their search for a first league goal on the road since April continues.

Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha went closest for Palace when they were thwarted in quick succession by a superb double save from Albion goalkeeper Mathew Ryan, while Brighton striker Glenn Murray had a late header blocked on the line by Andros Townsend.

Palace, buoyed by Saturday's last-gasp victory over Stoke, were given a further boost with record-signing Benteke fit enough to make his first start since suffering a knee injury in September.

Albion boss Chris Hughton brought in Markus Suttner and Jose Izquierdo for Gaetan Bong and Solly March.

After a lacklustre opening with limited goalmouth action, Palace were denied a 15th-minute lead by Ryan's tremendous reflexes.

The Australia international dived to his right to keep out Benkete's initial stabbed effort before impressively getting up to stop Zaha's close-range follow-up.

Brighton responded immediately to nearly falling behind and began to threaten at the other end. through defender Lewis Dunk and winger Izquierdo.

Albion had only won one of their last seven meetings with Palace in all competitions and they almost went ahead when central midfielder Stephens flashed a long-range shot wide of the left post with 18 minutes to play.

Time was running out for a winner, although Murray, who has scored three times in this fixture for Palace, nearly came back to haunt his former club.

The Albion striker connected well with Anthony Knockaert's 83rd-minute corner to send a header towards the bottom right corner but Eagles winger Townsend was on hand to ensure the game ended all square.

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