Crystal Palace 1 Wolves 1: Johnson drives off marauding Wolves

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The Independent Football

Wolves gained their 11th Championship draw of the season at Selhurst Park yesterday. That may not have been a surprise, but it took a clever goal from Palace's Andrew Johnson, whose season has been so disrupted by injury, to deny them a win that would not have been misplaced.

There had been no reason to think that this would be anything more enticing than a game with points shared. The teams began, as they ended, on the same number, more than 20 behind leaders Reading. But, with two games in hand, Palace are better placed in the traffic jam of clubs aiming for the play-offs.

Palace were also nicely placed early on, caressing the ball around. Michael Hughes had a 20-yard blast palmed over by Stefan Postma, and all looked promising.

Wolves' South Korean right-winger Ki-Hyeon Seol had been well controlled by Emmerson Boyce so switched to the left and thrust the ball across the penalty area. Palace's Mikele Leigertwood and Wolves' Vio Ganea stretched to intercept, missed, and the ball went straight in.

For almost the remainder of the first half Palace were bereft of ideas and lacking in the spirit of recovery. Then a long pass into the penalty area by Tom Soares was neatly controlled by Johnson who swivelled and hammered in the equaliser.

In the second half, Seol continued to be tantalisingly effective on the right edge and Palace's goalkeeper, Julian Speroni, was relieved to see a powerful low shot from Tom Huddlestone skim past a post, and Darren Anderton chip on to the crossbar. In between, he saved outstandingly from Mark Kennedy.

Showing commitment to attack, Wolves' three men up front kept the Palace defence under pressure but as the their manager, Glenn Hoddle, said: "The trouble is we can't put opponents to the sword."

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