No goals at freezing Riverside

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:29

No goals at freezing Riverside

In freezing conditions that certainly affected the Teesside action on Saturday, Boro goalkeeper Jason Steele had to make several fine saves to ensure his side claimed a hard-earned point.
However, the promotion chasers are now without a victory in six league matches – a run that stretches back to Boxing Day.
The Eagles may feel aggrieved to leave the North-East without all three points after largely dominating the encounter, and they have now not triumphed in five Championship matches.
Boro made two changes to the side that drew at Leicester, with injured duo Barry Robson and Scott McDonald replaced by Joe Bennett and Kevin Thomson.
Patrick McCarthy and Darren Ambrose came in for Paul McShane and Sean Scannell in the only two changes to Palace’s line-up from their midweek draw with Brighton.
The hosts started well and an error from Julian Speroni nearly gave them an ideal start to the afternoon, the Palace goalkeeper fumbling a looping ball from Tony McMahon before eventually scooping over.
As the snow grew heavier at the Riverside, the visitors started to gain a foothold in the clash although they were nearly caught out as Kagisho Dikgacoi had to clear off the line from Lukas Jutkiewicz’s header.
Wilfried Zaha was proving to be a handful for the Boro defence and he unleashed a couple of long-range drives, both of which narrowly missed the target.
Dougie Freedman’s men continued to look dangerous on the attack and Jonathan Parr’s cross found Jermaine Easter on the edge of the area, whose strike forced Steele into a fine save.
The half looked to be meandering towards nothing but Chris Martin’s 25-yard drive had Steele scrambling to turn the ball round the post.
Marvin Emnes missed the target with his effort from distance shortly after the interval but it proved to be his last contribution to the game as he was substituted for debutant Curtis Main.
As in the first half, after a sluggish start the Eagles started to warm to their task and Steele had to be at his best to keep out strikes from Zaha and Martin from the edge of the box.
A goal was needed to ignite the contest and, although Palace looked more threatening, neither side had fashioned a clear-cut chance.
The visitors thought they had been awarded a penalty when Joe Bennett hauled down Zaha on the right but referee Mark Heywood adjudged the foul to have taken place outside the area.
Steele was called into action to deny Easter before Ambrose fired over the rebound from just outside the area.
Palace were nearly made to rue their profligacy as Jutkiewicz’s strike from Justin Hoyte’s cross threatened to win it at the death but Speroni did well to deny the former Coventry striker and ensure the spoils were shared.

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