Palace held by Pompey

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:29

Palace held by Pompey

The result left Portsmouth still looking for their first away victory in the Championship this season and they shaded a game of few chances.
Portsmouth defender Ricardo Rocha did well to block a shot from Nathaniel Clyne before the visitors took control and Jason Pearce hit the crossbar with a header.
Luke Varney had a good chance to lob Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni in the second half but got his shot wrong and the home side held on for a point and an impressive sixth consecutive clean sheet.
It was Palace who made the brighter start with Wilfried Zaha looking dangerous as always and Rocha did well to block a cross from Darren Ambrose. Anthony Gardner headed over from the resulting corner.
With 24 minutes gone Pearce’s slip let in Zaha and he cut the ball back for Clyne who saw his shot blocked by the alert Rocha.
Portsmouth responded and two minutes later Tal Ben Haim’s cross found Liam Lawrence who rose above Dean Moxey but headed over the bar.
The visitors came agonisingly close to taking the lead soon after when an excellent free-kick from Lawrence was met by Pearce and his looping header cannoned off the post before Palace managed to clear.
Pompey finished the half as the stronger side and Varney almost got clear from Lawrence’s through-ball but Speroni was quick off his line to collect.
Neither side took control at the start of the second half but Portsmouth had a half-chance when Joel Ward mis-hit a cross which Speroni had to claw away and Palace cleared away the resulting corner.
The game descended into a war of attrition with both sides giving the ball away and cancelling each other out.
Lawrence continued to look dangerous from set-pieces and Speroni made a mess of a free-kick from the Irishman but the referee ruled that the Palace goalkeeper had been fouled.
Palace boss Dougie Freedman tried to inject some spark into his side’s display by bringing Sean Scannell on for Jonathan Parr but the Eagles struggled to create any meaningful chances.
Lawrence saw another free-kick deflected just over before Varney got away down the right and Speroni came rushing off his line but the Pompey frontman failed to get the lift on his shot with the goal gaping.
An evening of frustration got worse for Lawrence when he hobbled off late on to be replaced by Erik Huseklepp and Palace pushed forward winning a succession of corners.
However the Portsmouth defence stood firm and both sides had to settle for a point.

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