Burnley 0 Crystal Palace 0: Palace need wake-up call for play-offs

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The Independent Football

Crystal Palace have two games left to re-establish winning momentum, no matter how formidable their play-off pedigree.

Two days after carelessly frittering away victory at home to Crewe Alexandra, they displayed a lack of urgency that left them fortunate to deny Burnley only a fourth win in 20 games. "As an attacking force, we didn't turn up," admitted Palace manager Iain Dowie.

"We didn't move the ball well enough. If we're not on our mettle, we'll be in this division again next season."

Dowie had captain Michael Hughes and leading scorer Andrew Johnson on the bench, and there was some increase in tempo after their arrival in the final quarter. But a powerful low drive from Palace's third substitute, Dougie Freedman, which was well saved, was a poorgoal threat. Palace have taken two points from nine.

That said, Gabor Kiraly was not overworked in the visitors' goal, although he had to scramble away Alan Mahon's 25-yard free-kick and was thankful first-half substitute Kyle Lafferty demanded no more than a comfortable falling save when well placed late on.

In only two of Burnley's last 16 matches have both they and their opponents scored, so no goal-fest was expected. Their five-match unbeaten run has been built on clean sheets and their manager Steve Cotterill said: "We're pleased with the way we are finishing the season. Palace are always likely to score and they will do well in the play-offs."

Burnley (4-4-2): Jensen; Sinclair, McGreal, Duff, Harley; Hyde, J O'Connor, McCann (Lafferty, 38), Mahon; Gray, Branch. Substitutes not used: Karbassiyoon, Elliott, G O'Connor, Spicer.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Kiraly; Boyce, Ward, Hudson, Borrowdale; Soares, Leigertwood (Hughes, 60), Watson, Reich; Morrison (Johnson, 66), Macken (Freedman 68). Substitutes not used: Butterfield, Speroni.

Referee: M Dean (The Wirral).

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