Kiraly unable to disguise scale of Dowie's task

Crystal Palace 0 - Blackburn Rovers 0
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What is the opposite of "bouncebackability"? Having coined the word, Iain Dowie could probably provide the answer. But he also knows he has a mighty task in breathing life into Crystal Palace's season. Things have gone disturbingly flat and it is now six Premiership matches without a victory.

Indeed the only liveliness here came from the goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, whose astonishing display earned an unlikely point against a desperately unlucky, admirably organised Blackburn side. "He's tremendously springy," said Dowie. Springy? Kiraly jumped about like Zebedee on helium.

The Hungarian in the baggy grey tracksuit - it works for him - was a free signing from Hertha Berlin and Dowie and his brother Bob, Palace's director of football, will have to wheel and deal in January if they are to succeed in keeping Palace up. Dowie also talked about the need to get back on the training ground and, to his credit, said the "first thing I will do is look at myself".

He has done that already, brought back the personnel that got Palace promoted and devised a 4-5-1 formation that succeeded. Until recently. "The system did not work," he said. Andy Johnson, the tireless, clever front-runner that he is, did have a second-half shot turned on to a post by Brad Friedel and created an inviting headed opportunity for Vassilis Lakis. But, Ben Watson apart, Palace looked jaded and it was curious to hear Dowie fail to dismiss Portsmouth's interest in him.

"It is very flattering to be linked with jobs the size of Portsmouth but I have a huge job here," Dowie said. "We will see."

If Palace are on a downswing things are looking up for Blackburn. Their manager, Mark Hughes, took pleasure in the solidity of their defence and midfield but, as well as Paul Dickov and Jay Bothroyd played, he lacks a finisher.

"With a lesser goalkeeping performance we would have won quite easily," was Hughes's measured response. Kiraly's sequence was remarkable. He held on to Bothroyd's well-struck free-kick, saved with his legs when Dickov was clear, blocked Lucas Neill's close-range effort and then stopped Bothroyd's follow-up. The best save of all came when he turned over Craig Short's meaty volley to condemn Blackburn back into the bottom three.

With just one loss in seven that is harsh - but there is just one victory to reflect on as well. Hughes also had to contend with the dismissal of David Thompson, who had only been on the field for 17 minutes but contrived to be booked twice. It summed up the frustration.

Crystal Palace (4-5-1): Kiraly; Boyce, Hall, Popovic, Granville; Routledge (Torghelle, 82), Riihilahti (Andrews, 53), Watson, Hughes, Kolkka (Lakis, 73); Johnson. Substitutes not used: Speroni (gk), Leigertwood.

Blackburn Rovers (4-4-2): Friedel; Neill, Short, Todd, Matteo; Reid (Thompson, 71), Flitcroft, Ferguson, Emerton; Dickov, Bothroyd (Stead, 80). Substitutes not used: Enckelman (gk), Johansson, Gallagher.

Referee: A Wiley (Staffordshire).

Booked: Crystal Palace: Hughes, Torghelle, Andrews; Blackburn: Dickov, Todd, Thompson.

Sent Off: Blackburn: Thompson (88).

Man of the match: Kiraly.

Attendance: 22,010

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