Football: Big freeze at Palace

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The Independent Online
Crystal Palace. . .0

Coventry City. . . .0

THIS was not one of those thrilling goalless draws in which an endless stream of chances at either end somehow went begging. On the contrary, most of the 12,248 spectators who endured the finger-numbing temperatures and mind-numbing spectacle might have had a more enjoyable time at home doing a bit of grouting in the bathroom. But for a brief flurry of activity in the last 10 minutes as both sides sought to steal maximum points, there was virtually nothing to cheer.

In the post-match interview Steve Coppell did his polite best to analyse the interesting features of the match and, having discussed the failure of England's cricketers in India, retreated to the changing-room within the minute. Bobby Gould suggested the Premier League should return to using leather balls.

Nor will the single point that each side gained have provided much help to their sharply different causes. Palace slide one place closer towards the relegation zone; Coventry's bid for a place in Europe now seems a mission impossible as they disappear into the familiar grey area of the mid-table that seems their natural home.

Returning to the Palace side after a bout of flu, Geoff Thomas was always the player who came closest to making a significant impression on the game. His shot in the first half from the edge of the box was an undercoat away from the upright and early in the second half he set up the best chance of the game with a good run down the left and a whipping cross that Chris Armstrong headed marginally wide of Steve Ogrizovic's goal

Crystal Palace: N Martyn; J Humphrey, R Shaw (G Ndah, 68 min), C Coleman, E Young, A Thorn, B Bowry, G Thomas, C Armstrong, S Rodger, E McGoldrick. Subs not used: G Southgate, A Woodman (gk). Manager: S Coppell.

Coventry City: S Ogrizovic; B Borrows, P Babb, P Atherton, A Pearce, J Williams, S Robson, M Gynn (S Flynn, 78 min), R Rosario, M Quinn, D Smith. Subs not used: D Busst, J Gould (gk). Manager: B Gould.

Referee: Mr P Foakes (Clacton).