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16:52 1st January 2015

Palace enjoyed their second successive goalless draw as they once again kept their hosts at bay at Villa Park.

The Eagles had the best chance of the game when Yannick Bolasie burst through on goal and hit the bar in the first-half, but they were also thankful for the efforts of Julian Speroni who made some decent saves to once again keep his clean sheet intact.

Less than a minute had gone when Speroni was first called into action by a Christian Benteke effort but the Palace goalkeeper made a good block to beat the ball away, but he was forced to make a world-class stop on 14 minutes.

Aly Cissokho produced a brilliant bit of skill to knock the ball over Adrian Mariappa’s header and his cross was deflected into the path of Alan Hutton, who’d raced into the box from right-back. He looked destined to drill the ball home but Speroni quickly spread himself and made a superb one-handed stop.

That sparked a quiet game into life and minutes later Bolasie pounced on a mis-placed pass in the Villans’ backline and sped 50 yards downfield to go one-on-one with Brad Guzan. The winger looked nailed on to score when he lofted the ball over the keeper but saw the ball rattle the crossbar.

Villa came back and Leandro Bacuna shaved the top of the net with a wicked curling free-kick packed with plenty pace and Bolasie blazed a shot high into the Holte End as a stale first-half came to an end.

After the restart it was more of the same as both sides struggled to carve out chances. Benteke saw a headed from a corner drift just past the post and Jason Puncheon and Joel Ward both saw strikes blocked by the Villa defence in quick succession.

With 20 minutes remaining Benteke should have hit the target when he was picked out inside a crowded penalty area by Carlos Sanchez but blasted his first-time shot over the top from close range, and later Martin Kelly took aim from outside the area but floated his shot well wide.

In the latter stages Bacuna troubled Speroni with another free-kick which the Argentinian did well to tip over but he wasn’t to be beaten once again.

Aston Villa: Guzan, Cissokho, Vlaar (Clark 15), Okore, Hutton, Bacuna, Cleverley (Grealish 64), Sanchez, Weimann (Cole 82), Agbonlahor, Benteke. Subs not used: Given, Clark, Lowton, N'Zogbia, Robinson.

Palace: Speroni, Kelly, Delaney, Dann, Mariappa, Bolasie, McArthur (Bannan 89), Ward, Ledley, Puncheon, Zaha (Gayle 61). Subs not used: Hennessey, Hangeland, Thomas, Campbell, Doyle.