Hull City hung on to record yet another draw at Selhurst Park, their third in a row as the Sky TV cameras were given little joy in a boring stalemate in South London.
Back to the starting line up for Palace was Paddy McCarthy after a groin injury and Owen Garvan after suspension. Allessane N’Diaye was also picked again by George Burley as was Wilfired Zaha, looking to impress onlookers with his quick feet. Hull were unchanged from their draw with Middlesbrough but had ex-eagle John Bostock on the bench, back at Selhurst for the first time since his departure to Tottenham as a 16 year old.
While the visitors dominated the early exchanges, they threatened little. A mere header from Richard Garcia which Julian Speroni could have simply blown on to prevent a goal was the result of plenty of territory. The custodian, who only yesterday signed a new 3 and a half year deal will not have many easier games than tonight.
The match lit up with 5 minutes to go however as Pablo Counago charged down Paul McShane’s clearance to good effect, leaving him with either the chance to shoot or to play the ball to Vaughan. He chose the unselfish option and Vaughan made a mess of the shot. Minutes later, Counago had another chance after a strong run into the area from Neil Danns but could only fire his shot at the feet of Kamil Zayatte. Vaughan had a late free kick effort go harmlessly over the bar and a poor first half ended as Sky breathed a sigh of relief and hit the adverts button sharpish.
Hull welcomed the break having already used two substitutes early on due to injuries; Jay Simpson came on for the lively Richard Garcia and McShane replaced Anthony Gerrard. It wasn’t long after the interval before Palace had to follow suit as James Vaughan, playing his last match before returning to parent club Everton, left the field with an ankle injury. Sean Scannell made his first appearance of the season and soon made an impact as Palace enjoyed possession and territory on the left wing for long periods.
Allessane N’Diaye probably came closest to finding the back of the net as his shot from 20 yards curled narrowly wide. The young Frenchman was playing in the absence of the influential Darren Ambrose who hadn’t recovered from a dead leg in time and you could only think that had he made an appearance Palace would have taken the 3 points. N’Diaye again came close minutes later but fired well over from 7 yards and a tight angle.
The home team rallied but a lack of end product has been the story of the season so far, at least the defending has improved… not that Hull tested it much at all apart from a Simpson chance that Speroni saved from a narrow angle. Neil Danns had a long range shot blocked and Pablo Counago fired wide in a good position before the chance of the night.
Zaha, quiet for much of the match, turned McShane delightfully and this time decided to cross instead of shoot and found Danns 6 yards out. Somehow the ball stayed out following a sensational block from Zayatte who earned the man of the match award for his efforts. Counago, well offside, picked up the ball and managed to fire over again on the 6 yard box under pressure.
Palace eventually took the draw as Hull managed to force a corner after the added time had been played but it came to no avail, a goal would have been harsh as no team truthfully had the quality to earn the win.
Counago – wasteful yet unselfish