Crystal Palace 0-0 Hull: Sunday Mirror match report
Published 21:30 17/03/12 By MirrorFootball
Hull made it 11 games unbeaten, but were frustrated by a resilient Palace outfit in a scoreless draw at Selhurst Park.
Nick Barmby’s side have now kept 18 clean sheets in the Championship this season, more than any other team – and their defensive fortitude could yet earn them a place in the play-offs.
Barmby said: “It was a good point but we had to show our resilience again.
“Palace are a very good side and they had some chances. But the lads have been like that for the last two months. They are a hungry bunch who want to do well for themselves and each other.
“We try to make ourselves hard to beat and we had a great defensive shape once again.
“Everyone worked hard to give ourselves a chance, but there is still a really long way to go before anything is settled.”
With Wilfried Zaha suspended, Palace – on a nine-game unbeaten run of their own – were lacking in creative spark but were always likely to find it difficult to break down the visitors’ solid backline.
Corry Evans had an early sight of goal for Hull but dragged his shot just wide.
Anthony Gardner’s smart block denied Josh King as he fired off a goalbound effort from inside the box moments later. The Tigers were not having it all their own way, however, and Palace’s Chris Martin tested Vito Mannone with a stinging effort after 15 minutes.
Martin then whipped in a dangerous cross for Mile Jedinak but the Aussie’s header cleared the bar.
Barmby introduced Tom Cairney at the break as the largely anonymous Evans was withdrawn and the visitors were first to threaten as the second half got underway. Aaron McLean forced a save from Julian Speroni with a 25-yard drive before Cairney announced his presence with a strike from even further out which was held by the Argentine goalkeeper.
Glenn Murray went close to ending his 13-match run without a goal when his headed effort tested Mannone once more.
Crystal Palace boss Dougie Freedman threw Sean Scannell into the mix with an hour gone and his shot from 20 yards flew just over.
Both sides had late half-chances but Kyle De Silva pulled his effort wide and Robbie Brady’s ambitious strike did not cause any concern for Speroni.
The whistle signalled a seventh draw in nine games for both clubs as Palace slipped into the bottom half of the table.
Freedman admitted that a point was just about what his side deserved.
“I don’t think we did enough to win the game,” he said. “You can see why Hull are in the top six but I thought we coped well and came more into it in the second half.
“It was great to see some of the younger players stand up to a team like Hull.
“I’ve always said that the play-offs might be too much to ask but you can see the progress we have made.
“We’ve taken big strides compared to where we were last season.”