KC draw helps make Eagles safe

Crystal Palace secured their Championship status for next season after drawing 1-1 with Hull at the KC Stadium on Saturday.

Last Updated: 30/04/11 at 17:31 Post Comment

Palace: Survival joy for Eagles

Palace: Survival joy for Eagles

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The Tigers saw their play-off dream end over the Easter weekend and they failed to sign off their home campaign in style as youngster Ibra Sekajja marked his debut with a late leveller.

Anthony Gerrard put the Tigers ahead in the first half but, after coming on as a substitute, Sekajja netted instantly to earn his side a share of the spoils.

The goal mattered little in truth, though, as Palace would have ensured survival even had they lost after Sheffield United could only manage a draw against Barnsley.

It completes an excellent debut season for manager Dougie Freedman, who took the reins in November with the Eagles sitting second bottom.

Their situation looked perilous at that stage but, having lost just seven of the ensuing 21 games, they have staved off the threat of relegation with one game remaining.

Buoyed by their 1-0 victory over Leeds on Easter Monday, Palace enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges at the KC Stadium.

The Tigers, who opted to start Aaron McLean and Robert Koren, looked laboured although they did fashion the first opening, Matty Fryatt shooting just wide.

But Nigel Pearson's side's chances were hampered in the 14th minute as Richard Garcia had to be withdrawn due to an ongoing knee injury.

It was Freedman's men who continued to look the better side and their endeavour was nearly rewarded when Darren Ambrose's fizzing free-kick forced a good save from Matt Duke.

Hull started to come back into the game thereafter, though, and took the lead in the 31st minute through Gerrard.

Koren sent in an excellent free-kick which Jack Hobbs headed back across goal to leave his fellow defender with the simplest of finishes.

Not content with one, the hosts pushed for a second and almost got it immediately with Mclean forcing an excellent save from Julian Speroni.

Picking up where they left off, the hosts continued to dominate after the interval as Koren sent a dipping volley just over while Garcia's replacement David Amoo fired narrowly wide.

The game entered a lull thereafter with Palace struggling increasingly to impose themselves, although they did nearly equalise when Ambrose saw his goalbound effort blocked by Gerrard.

With the match entering its final 20 minutes, the Eagles' desperation to restore parity became more evident.

However, that opened gaps for Hull to exploit and they almost did just that but, after being found by an excellent Jamie Devitt cross, Tijani Belaid headed wide.

Palace tried valiantly to claim a share of the spoils and earned just that as Sekajja finished coolly from Claude Davis' cross - the newcomer's first touch of the ball in professional football.

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