Donny denied as Palace make point

Doncaster and Crystal Palace did little to ease their relegation fears as they played out a scrappy 0-0 stalemate at the Keepmoat Stadium.

Last Updated: 22/04/11 at 17:53 Post Comment

Thomas: Went close for Rovers

Thomas: Went close for Rovers

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Rovers enjoyed the better of the contest with Jason Euell, James O'Connor and Wayne Thomas going close, but they are now without a win in nine games - although they did at least pick up just a second clean sheet in 16 matches.

It was a rare away point for Palace and they came closest to a goal as Neil Danns hit the post in the second half and substitute Steffen Iversen fired over, but Scunthorpe's draw at Coventry means Rovers and the Londoners remain just five and three points above the npower Championship drop zone respectively.

Rovers, who recorded a crowd of 14,312 for this fixture after making tickets free to home fans, handed a start to on-loan striker Euell as Mustapha Dumbuya returned in defence while Matthew Kilgallon dropped to the bench.

Palace boss Dougie Freedman brought Wilfried Zaha and Pablo Counago into his side at the expense of Iversen and the injured James Vaughan. Sean Scannell was suspended following his red card against Scunthorpe.

Despite the importance of the game, it was the visitors who made an assured start with the lively Zaha giving O'Connor a torrid time, and only a block by goalkeeper Gary Woods stopped the winger's low centre picking out Counago.

The opening 20 minutes proved to be a predictably scrappy affair but Doncaster grew in confidence as they started to get men forward to support lone striker Euell.

John Oster drove narrowly wide from distance before James Coppinger played in O'Connor, but the full-back's touch was heavy and his effort to pull the ball across goal was cleared by Anthony Gardner, making his 250th career league appearance.

Euell then shot wide after slaloming through the Palace rearguard and the home side were furious to see their appeals for a handball in the box turned away after another Oster strike struck Nathaniel Clyne.

Centre-half Thomas forced a sharp save from Julian Speroni with a powerful header as Palace spent the rest of the first 45 minutes penned in their own half.

That pattern continued at the start of the second stanza as Euell fired wide after turning on the edge of the six-yard box from Simon Gillett's pull-back.

Gardner was fortunate to escape with a booking as he appeared to use two feet in a tackle on Gillett and Euell, who was becoming a greater threat as the game wore on, forced Speroni into action with an acrobatic overhead kick.

But Palace served a reminder of the threat they still posed just before the hour mark as a lovely cross from Counago saw Woods forced to make a sharp stop from Darren Ambrose's close-range header.

Palace sent on Iversen for Counago but Doncaster still dominated territory. Coppinger just failed to get on the end of a long goal-kick after Dean Moxey had slipped, before Euell dragged an effort just wide on 69 minutes.

But Palace then wasted two gilt-edged chances to snatch the points. Iversen teed up Danns but the midfielder's shot came back off a post, before the former Tottenham forward blazed over from close range after a great run by Clyne.

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2 Watford 14 11 26
3 Wolves 14 6 26
4 B'mouth 14 14 24
5 M'boro 14 7 24
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10 Ipswich 14 4 21
11 Cardiff 14 1 19
12 Sheff Wed 14 0 19
13 Brentford 14 -3 19
14 Reading 14 -5 18
15 Millwall 14 -2 17
16 Rotherham 14 -3 17
17 Huddsf'ld 14 -6 17
18 Leeds 14 -4 16
19 Wigan 14 -1 15
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22 Bolton 14 -11 11
23 Birm'ham 14 -16 11
24 Blackpool 14 -14 6

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