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Match Reports

Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton

13 April 2016

Palace were held to a goalless draw by 10-man Everton at Selhurst Park on a night where they did everything but score.

The Eagles had good chances to snatch all the points in both halves, and found themselves camped in the Toffees’ half after the visitors saw James McCarthy shown a second yellow card six minutes into the second half, but still the breakthrough wouldn’t arrive.

In fact Wayne Hennessey made the better of the saves during the contest, and while he would have been happy to keep a second consecutive clean sheet, it ultimately yielded just a point.

Freed from the pressures of their long wait for a league win, Palace began like a house on fire and after Yannick Bolasie had forced Joel Robles into a low stop at his near post three minutes in, Dwight Gayle narrowly put a snapshot wide after being picked out brilliantly by Wilfried Zaha.

But after that bright start Everton began to grow into the game and on 20 minutes only Hennessey’s reactions kept the scores level. Leighton Baines picked out his fellow full-back Seamus Coleman who had been left unmarked at the back post, but his Irish international’s first-time shot was blocked by the Welsh keeper.

However there was nothing he could do when Ross Barkley attempted to weave his way through the Eagles backline and the ball fell to Arouna Kone who hammered it goalwards, leaving Hennessey beaten by the superb effort but fortunately it flew over the bar into the Holmesdale.

Then just before the half-hour mark the Palace custodian was called into action again when a swift counter-attack saw Barkley slip in Romelu Lukaku who looked destined to find the net but Hennessey stayed big to block his attempt.

Having overcome that period of pressure unscathed, Alan Pardew’s men had another sight of goal when Gayle attempted an acrobatic bicycle kick following a loose header from John Stones but missed out on scoring one of the goals of the season by fractions, and Ramiro Funes Mori was incredibly lucky not to divert a driven Zaha cross into his own net five minutes before the break.

After the restart Barkley went close to netting a stunner when he picked the ball up outside the area and bent it towards the top corner but saw it clatter off the crossbar, but minutes later McCarthy could have no complaints for being shown a second yellow card on 51 minutes for a block on Bolasie, having been booked previously for a scything tackle on Yohan Cabaye. 

With the man advantage Palace pushed forwards and Mile Jedinak created a chance for Jason Puncheon but Robles was quickly out to block. The Eagles recycled the ball and another opportunity came for Joel Ward but his shot with the outside of his foot was also saved by the Spaniard.

There was a moment of brief respite when Stones should have done better after being allowed a free header from a Barkley corner but could only find Hennessey, but Palace continued to dominate and Cabaye had a dipping shot smothered by Robles before some brilliant skill by Puncheon saw him beat two players and nearly repeat his heroics from four days before but saw his curler pushed away.

Wave after wave of attack continued and after Emmanuel Adebayor was introduced to the fray he headed just wide after being picked out by Puncheon, and another substitute went close with his head when Connor Wickham nodded over a cross from the left.

But Hennessey once again had to pull out the stops to keep his sheet clean when a breakdown in attack at one end allowed Coleman the chance to advance and let fly from 25 yards, and his deflected effort looked to be looping over the 6’6” glovesman but he scrambled back and managed to get something on the shot to prevent it creeping in.

Late on Puncheon and Adebayor linked up again but again the striker couldn’t keep his header on target on a frustrating night in front of goal for the Eagles.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Cabaye, Jedinak, Zaha (Sako 76), Puncheon, Bolasie (Adebayor 65), Gayle (Wickham 46). Subs: McCarthy, Kelly, Ledley, Lee.

Everton: Robles, Coleman, Stones, Funes Mori, Baines, McCarthy, Barry, Barkley (Mirallas 85), Lennon (Oviedo 68), Kone (Besic 53), Lukaku. Subs: Howard, Pienaar, Deulofeu, Niasse.

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