Crystal Palace 0
- Match reports
- Fri 23 Nov 2012, 2:17PM
- Posted by Mark Booth
In a game that was billed as the battle of the National Group 3 basement teams, it was a second goalless draw in a week for Attilio Lombardo’s men.
With only three games left of the preliminary Barclays U21 Premier League season, this was a chance for both sides to ascend the table and claim valuable points to secure a preferable draw when the league resumes after Christmas.
Palace were placed just a point above City at the foot of the table going into this fixture and both teams were aware that they could climb as high as fifth with a good result.
Former Eagles star turned City EDS manager Attilio Lombardo was able to call upon Abdul Razak for the first time this season after the midfielder returned from his loan spell at Charlton a fortnight ago.
There haven’t been many goals in games featuring this City team this season, with the Blues scoring the second least (13) in their group but also conceding the second least (13) in their 11 games.
What was needed here was some precision in front of goal to convert the multitude of chances the creative architects in midfield have been fashioning.
With Jordy Hiwula still suffering from injury, Devante Cole was charged with providing the firepower and it was the City no.9 who had the game’s first good chance nine minutes in.
Typically balletic footwork from Jose Angel Pozo presented him the opportunity from 12 yards out but he uncharacteristically dragged his shot a foot wide of the post.
Pozo was the creator again in the 38th minute and City will be wondering how they didn’t take the lead when the Spaniard crossed for Olivier Ntcham to hit a powerful volley which Fitzsimmons in the Palace goal did brilliantly well to tip onto the post.
A few moments later Fitzsimmons was required again to turn away a shot from Pozo himself from 10 yards but he was beaten on the stroke of half-time by a Marcos Lopes effort which cannoned back off the crossbar.
It was proving to be the season so far in a nutshell for Lombardo’s men in the first half – moments of intricate individual skill, plenty of chances but no goals.
That needed to change after half-time if City had any aspirations of climbing off the bottom of the table but if anything, it was the visitors who came closest.
Their big chance arrived on 72 minutes when Kwassi Appiah watched his shot come back off the underside of the crossbar much to Eirik Johansen’s relief.
City had to wait until stoppage time to put the goal under any kind of threat again, when star man on the day, Adam Drury put in a wicked cross from the right side but there was no-one there to meet it.
Another solid, resolute performance for the Blues but just a solitary point from a bitterly cold afternoon at Platt Lane.