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MILLWALL battled hard but could only manage a goalless draw against south London rivals Crystal Palace at The Den on Tuesday night.

The hard-fought draw takes the Lions two points above the relegation zone ahead of this Saturday’s final day trip to Derby, while Palace will still need to beat Peterborough at home to guarantee a play-off spot.

It was a scrappy start to the derby with both sides eager to assert themselves on a game where three points were crucial for all parties involved.

Millwall, bolstered by the return of their captain Danny Shittu from suspension, were tenacious in the opening exchanges, putting Palace under pressure and battling to create chances.

However, for all their industrious work ethic, the home side struggled to create anything resembling a clear chance.

Their brightest opportunity fell to midfielder Josh Wright, who placed his shot over the bar from the edge of area after an Andy Keogh cut back on 18 minutes.

Despite their lack of authority, Palace still looked threatening when they did manage to create an opportunity, with Wilfried Zaha always looking dangerous when the ball came his way.

The visitors enjoyed arguably the best chance of the first half when Owen Garvan’s diagonal ball from the left landed in front of Glen Murray, only for the out-rushing David Forde to intercept the pass before the striker could connect.

Palace had a penalty claim turned down after the break as Glenn Murray fell under a challenge from Alan Dunne, although referee Graham Salisbury was unconvinced and waved play on.

Ian Holloway’s men began to create more as the half went on, with a thunderous strike from Yannick Bolasie almost opening the scoring.

The forward sent in a rasping effort from the edge of the area but Forde got enough of his fingertips on the ball to push it over for a corner.

Millwall had chances of their own with Liam Feeney racing down the left channel and producing a dangerous low cross into the six-yard box, but Julian Speroni was quick to smother the ball before it could reach Shaun Batt.

The atmosphere intensified as both sides stepped up their quest for all three points and Palace’s Damien Delaney rued a missed opportunity late on.

He found himself in space as Bolasie’s corner fell kindly to him on the left hand-side of the area, only for his touch to let him down as he sliced over from 10 yards.

It was a certainly a night to forget for Lions forward Dany N’Guessan, who was brought on for Batt on 71 minutes only to be subbed by manager Kenny Jackett for Lioan Trotter quarter of an hour later.

N’Guessan was booed off by disgruntled Lions fans as he trudged from the pitch, placing a major question mark over whether he will ever play for the club again.

Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, St Ledger, Wright, Henry (Woolford 21), Feeney, Batt (N’Guessan 71, Trotter 86), Keogh. Subs not used: M Taylor, Marquis, A Smith, Abdou.

Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Moxey, Delaney, Gabbidon, Bolasie (Dobbie 83), Dikgacoi, Garvan (Williams 74), Jedinak, Zaha, Murray. Subs not used: Price, Phillips, Dobbie, Wilbraham, Ramage, Moritz.

Originally published on originally posted on newsshopper.co.uk on 30/04/13 – (Link to article  http://bit.ly/10T8qgw )

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