Match Report: Michael Owen fails to conjure up the magic of the cup as Crystal Palace and Stoke play out goalless draw

Crystal Palace 0 Stoke 0

selhurst park

The "magic" of the FA Cup drew Crystal Palace's lowest crowd in three months, and the absent regulars had the right idea. While the tie had an interesting contrast in styles, Palace running at Stoke's defence while the visitors looked early and long for Peter Crouch, neither approach brought reward, and they will have to try again at the Britannia on Tuesday week.

Stoke City may be a big team, both physically and in League status, but Palace are more interested in making sure they are mixing with giants next season than killing them. Even Ian Holloway described the tie as "a practice match in a great competition" and the replay is an undesirable addition to the fixture list. But Holloway, as ever, searched for the positives.

"I wanted to win or lose," said the Palace manager. "I wasn't bothered which as long as we had a good performance, but the way the game went I didn't want to lose as I didn't think my team deserved to. This was great experience for a young team and a replay at Stoke will be fantastic experience."

It was certainly a learning experience. Stoke are not always as one-dimensional as they were yesterday but they are always physical, not usually in a violent manner but in that shoving, grappling, just-the-right-side-of-the-law sense that makes them difficult to play against. Palace did indeed grow frustrated, berating the officials and losing their focus, though no one took matters into their own hands (or head) as Marouane Felliani had.

The worst tackle of the game was by Palace's Stuart O'Keefe, on Jonathan Walters, for which he was booked, but Holloway was understandably upset by a late challenge on the £12m-rated Wilfried Zaha by Ryan Shotton which forced Zaha off but escaped censure.

Holloway, who described the officiating in general as "strange", said: "He gave a yellow card for an innocuous foul by Walters, so what's the one on Zaha? He caught Wilf. Whether he meant it or not Wilf's had to come off."

Zaha began in a central attacking role in an intriguing 4-2-1-3 formation featuring Andre Moritz behind Zaha and two wingers pushed on. Given the degree of service Stoke's full-backs provide their front men it was actually a smart defensive move to keep them penned back. Zaha's deployment was partly forced as illness meant Palace were without the 22-goal Glenn Murray, one of four changes in the XI.

Stoke, finalists two seasons ago, made six changes, though such is their squad depth it did not significantly weaken the team. The reshaped side paired Michael Owen and Crouch in attack. This was Owen's belated first start for City, on the ground on which he made his senior debut for Liverpool against the original Wimbledon 16 years ago.

He scored then but never looked like doing so yesterday, being starved of service before being withdrawn, as planned, before the hour. "He needs more games but we're pleased he got through without problems," said Tony Pulis, who dismissed reports that Owen may play in Australia.

Owen did create the 10th-minute chance from which Crouch should have put Stoke ahead. Owen flicked on a recycled corner to the far post where Crouch, his legs all a-tangle, somehow managed to shoot across goal and wide from six yards out.

Aside from an ambitious 40-yard lob by Charlie Adam, Stoke never threatened again, but Thomas Sorensen was equal to anything Palace had.

He had already made a good save from Jermaine Easter, and later made a sharp one from Zaha, but everything else was regulation as Stoke defended with their usual combination of muscle and nous. Yannick Bolasie was the brightest of Palace's attackers, though the cameos of Williams and Kwesi Appiah underlined the depth of the Eagles' youthful promise.

"We knew it would be tough," said Pulis. "We are happy with the draw."

Crystal Palace (4-2-1-3): Price; Parr, Ramage, Delaney, Moxey; Jedinak, O'Keefe; Moritz; Bolaise (Banton, 68), Zaha (Williams, 55), Easter (Appiah, 66).

Stoke City(4-4-2): Sorensen; Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Cameron; Walters, Whitehead, N'Zonzi, Kightly (Jerome, 55); Crouch (Jones, 74), Owen (Adam, 54).

Referee: Neil Swarbrick.

Man of the match: Bolasie (Crystal Palace)

Match rating: 5/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee