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Crystal Palace 0-0 Bolton
DOUGIE Freedman marked his return to Selhurst Park with a point as Crystal Palace were held to a scoreless draw by Bolton Wanderers.
Chris Eagles almost gave Bolton an 18th second lead with an effort which flew just wide, although this was to be something of a false dawn as there were no other real chances at all in the opening exchanges.
Eagles received a yellow card for a theatrical tumble but then tested Julian Speroni in the 23rd minute with a 20-yard shot which the Palace keeper had to push out.
Darren Pratley headed agonisingly wide from Tyrone Mears’ excellent 29th minute delivery, while the hosts had a penalty claim ignored at the other end moments later when Dean Moxey’s cross hit Eagles’ arm just inside the area.
In fairness the replays showed there wasn’t much the Bolton striker could have done to get out of the way, although the decision not to award a spot-kick clearly infuriated Ian Holloway on the touchline.
Moxey and Eagles clashed moments later but it was only the Palace man who got a yellow, the ref probably factoring in the earlier caution for the Bolton striker.
Keith Andrews added his name to the referee’s book for a cynical tug on Wilfried Zaha as the Palace winger tried to break through.
Glenn Murray had the ball in the net five minutes before the break after Adam Bogdan could only push out Yannick Bolasie’s long range drive but the home striker was in an offside position so the effort didn’t count.
Speroni made a comfortable catch to gather Eagles’ ambitious 25 yard volley just before the break but a largely forgettable first half ended scoreless.
The second period began just as slowly as the first so it came as no surprise Holloway made his first change eight minutes in by introducing Andre Moritz for Alex Nimely.
Eagles blazed another effort wide of the target and Murray was unfortunate not to get on the end of Bolasie’s low cross on the hour.
Palace should have broken the deadlock on 64 minutes when Zaha hit the post and then Moritz fired wide from the rebound.
Marcos Alonso fired inches wide for the visitors and the effort must have taken a slight deflection as Bolton were awarded a corner.
Murray was the next to see an attempt fly off target after being picked out by Zaha moments before Peter Ramage made way for Alex Marrow and Jacob Butterfield for Jonny Williams.
Jedinak came to the rescue by hacking the danger clear after Speroni was almost caught out by a ball into the box.
Zaha came close with another off target shot two minutes from time and Marrow’s stoppage time drive was well saved by Bogdan.
But there was to be no winner as both sides settled for a hard-earned point on a freezing afternoon at Selhurst Park.
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Crystal Palace: Speroni, Moxey, Delaney, Ramage (Marrow 74), Parr, Butterfield (Williams 76), Bolasie, Jedinak, Zaha, Murray, Nimely (Moritz 53). Subs not used: Price, Wilbraham, Easter, O’Keefe. Att: 17,033.