United battle to the end but must settle for play-offs

Crystal Palace 0 Sheffield United 0

Sheffield United maintained their pursuit of the Championship's pacemakers to the very end but Kevin Blackwell's team will have to go the extra mile in the play-offs if they are to play in the Premier League next season.

If there was disappointment at failing to end the regular season on a winning note yesterday, United could take consolation from the fact Birmingham's victory at Reading meant the result at Selhurst Park was academic in terms of the automatic promotion places.

United have been the division's form team of late, but until the latter stages here they rarely looked like top-flight contenders. Chris Morgan headed against a post in injury time as United threw men forward, but they could easily have lost had Crystal Palace not squandered a number of chances early in the second half.

Blackwell complained that his team should have had two penalties for fouls on Darius Henderson and hailed Julian Speroni, the Palace goalkeeper, as his man of the match. Palace had little to play for but their pride and manager Neil Warnock admitted the build-up had been difficult. A former United manager and a lifelong supporter, he said he was relieved he could now sit back and support them in the play-offs, where they face Preston North End.

David Cotterill was the source of United's best work, but for long periods Henderson's aerial threat looked the only likely source of a goal. He headed wide at the far post from a cross by Cotterill, who twice went close with shots inside the area.

It was Palace who started brighter after the break, Victor Moses firing narrowly wide after Shefki Kuqi's flick-on and Neil Danns shooting beyond the far post after a slick move on the edge of the penalty area. Paddy Kenny parried another Danns effort and was relieved to see the Palace midfielder collide with a colleague, Nick Carle, in the rush to meet the rebound.

Lee Hills and Rui Fonte both squandered further chances, though it was United who finished the stronger as Speroni made fine saves from Greg Halford's header and Jamie Ward's point-blank effort. The goalkeeper was finally beaten three minutes into injury time, but was relieved to see Morgan's header rattle a post.

Crystal Palace (4-3-2-1): Speroni; Lawrence, J Fonte, McCarthy, Hill; Danns (Scowcroft, 90), Ertl, Carle; Stokes (Hills, 72), Moses (R Fonte, 55); Kuqi. Substitutes not used: Clyne, Cadogan.

Sheffield United (4-4-2): Kenny; Walker, Morgan, Kilgallon, Naughton; Cotterill, Montgomery, Quinn (Webber, 89), Halford; Ward (Lupoli, 74), Henderson (Beattie, 74). Substitutes not used: Hendrie, O'Toole.

Referee: C Foy (Merseyside).

Booked: Crystal Palace Lawrence, Ertl.

Man of the match: Cotterill.

Attendance: 22,824.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Extras
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value
indybest

News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricket
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
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.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas