Football: Barnsley blunt Bassett

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The Independent Online
Barnsley 0 Crystal Palace 0

After scoring 24 goals in six games, the Crystal Palace bandwagon had to roll to a halt somewhere. A goalless draw at Oakwell, however, is no mean achievement these days and in the circumstances Dave Bassett, the Palace manager, could feel more than satisfied with this performance.

Already deprived of Dean Gordon and Darren Pitcher because of long-term injuries, Palace were also without Ray Houghton, Andy Roberts and Bruce Dyer, three players who have been central to their recent success. Bassett gave an immediate debut to Paul Trollope, a midfielder signed on loan from Derby last week.

This was the sort of selection problem managers usually have to face in the second half of the season, when suspensions come thick and fast, and Saturday's experience should give Bassett heart for the months ahead. Kevin Muscat slotted comfortably into Roberts' sweeping role, the youngster Robert Quinn looked comfortable in midfield and, in attack, George Ndah was unlucky not to have scored.

Ndah, who hit a post early in the second half, was denied just before the break when David Allison, the referee, having apparently awarded a goal after the Palace forward had headed home David Hopkin's corner, ruled it out because of a push. Palace's anger redoubled after 57 minutes when Andy Liddell fell dramatically under David Tuttle's challenge, but Chris Day brilliantly parried Neil Redfearn's penalty.

Barnsley have flagged a little following their fine start, but the pounds 250,000 signing of John Hendrie from Middlesbrough could rekindle their challenge. Playing just behind the busy Liddell and the bustling Paul Wilkinson, Hendrie was a constant danger. However, the closest Barnsley came to scoring was when Wilkinson hit a post with only Day to beat.

Palace's greatest threat was provided by the runs from midfield of Hopkin and Carl Veart, but they were regularly thwarted by the excellent David Watson, Barnsley's goalkeeper, who was always alert to the through balls which are a hallmark of Palace's play.

Barnsley (3-4-1-2); Watson; Davis, Appleby, De Zeeuw; Eaden, Sheridan, Redfearn, Moses; Hendrie (Bullock, 77); Wilkinson, Liddell. Substitutes not used: Bosancic, Hurst.

Crystal Palace (5-3-2): Day; Edworthy, Tuttle, Muscat, Andersen (Trollope, 63), Rodger; Hopkin, Quinn, Veart; Freedman (Scully, 90), Ndah (McKenzie, 76).

Referee: D Allison (Lancaster).

Bookings: Crystal Palace Freedman, Tuttle.

Man of the match: Watson.

Attendance: 9,183.