Brighton & Hove Albion 0 Crystal Palace 0
By Tim Hodges from the Amex
Albion were held by a much improved Crystal Palace and again had a number of good chances to see off their opponents
Christian Benteke and Wilfred Zaha were Palace’s main attacking threat with Andros Townsend supporting from the wide positions.
Within 15 minutes gone Benteke saw a shot saved well by Albion keeper Maty Ryan , Ryan then spread himself to make a splendid save as he pushed away Zaha’s effort from the rebound.
Albion were taking a while to get into the match, Pascal Gross and Davy Propper looking a little sluggish in the middle.
The Seagulls first chance came from a Anthony Knockaert corner , but just as the Frenchman fired in the cross, so a huge firecracker went off in the away end. Lewis Dunk rose to meet it , by Wayne Hennessy was well placed to make a routine save.
As Albion grew into the game so Jose Izquierdo got more involved just before the half hour the Columbians shot was beaten away by Hennessy, and Stephens with time, snatched at the rebound and sent his chances wide.
As the smoke bombs and firecrackers continued so the chances fizzled out for both teams, Glenn Murray finding hard work to create or seize on an opening.
There were times in the early stages of the second half where you could have been watching these teams back in the old Division 3. The play was very fragmented and neither could capitalise on the others mistakes.
Another Albion corner from Gross saw Dunk flick a back heel just wide of the near post.
The Seagulls were beginning to get on top. Knockaert released Bruno, but the captain couldn’t pick out an Albion player in the box.
Palace were on the back foot now and Albion could sense they had a chance, from another Gross corner Duffy headed just over the bar.
As Palace carved a chance or two out , Luka Milivojevic saw his shot hit the stantion behind the goal and ball rolled behind the net, much to the relief of the Albion fans in the north stand.
Albion’s best chance and the one they should have wrapped up all three points with, fell to Murray, but Townsend cleared his header off the line, with his knee and midriff
Towards the end Albion may have had a penalty as Duffy was bundled over in the penalty area, but all in all it was a useful point, but a damp squib on the pitch. But (fire) cracking in the away stand. An investigation will surely follow, as to how pyrotechnics were able to be smuggled in, although as rumours circulated that a group of ticketless Palace fans gained entry to the away end and other fans (around 300) were locked out. It is possible ticketless fans smuggled in the firecrackers unchecked. However the Amex security is usually first class.
Next up for Albion Liverpool at the Amex on Saturday (2nd December) at 3pm