Brighton 0 Crystal Palace 0 – Grudge clash fails to deliver drama but Eagles show defensive discipline to earn first Premier League clean sheet

In the end the hype failed to deliver.

A bit like the grudge pay-per-view boxing matches which so often have people parting with their money, but never quite live up to expectations.

Crystal Palace supporters sang the name of Glenn Murray at the full-time whistle, but they might not have been showing their respect for their former striker if his late header had not been cleared off the line by Andros Townsend.

It was an evening when defences were on top and the Eagles will be pleased with the solidity they showed as they collected a clean sheet on the South Coast.

Wilfried Zaha has scored in both victories that Palace have enjoyed at the Amex Stadium but he was largely kept quiet by a Brighton backline that stayed disciplined.

Palace had the first big chance and it needed a double save from Mathew Ryan on the quarter-hour mark. It was route one from the visitors as Wayne Hennessey’s long kick allowed Zaha to cause panic in the Albion box, the ball fell for Christian Benteke but his shot lacked a clean connection or real power. Zaha’s follow-up effort was pushed away for a corner as Ryan showed quick reactions.

Brighton had their first opportunity on target in the 22nd minute but Lewis Dunk headed straight at Hennessey after losing marker James Tomkins to meet a corner by Pascal Gross.

The South Coast outfit threatened again on 27 minutes. Jose Izquierdo cut in from the left and his shot was parried out by Hennessey for Dale Stephens to get a second bite at putting his side ahead – but his left footed shot he failed to hit the target.

The lack of conviction to the finishing continued as Gross left Hennessey with a comfortable save from Anthony Knockaert’s pass. Luka Milivojevic header Yohan Cabaye’s corner over the bar at the near post just before the break.

You felt the contest would open up more, and it did to some extent. But despite that it still lacked moments of goalmouth drama. Yohan Cabaye put a free-kick straight into Ryan’s arms. A Gross corner was cleared as Hennessey failed to deal with the danger.

But they were half chances at best, with neither defence willing to offer anything cheaply to their rival. Shane Duffy took no chances with a Loftus-Cheek shot as he threw himself in front of the effort to head away for a corner.

Zaha, only the most intermittent of threats, did flash in a cross from the left and looked incredulous that nobody in black attacked it with more determination.

Stephens tried his luck from 20 yards out but Hennessey had it covered as it flew wide of the near upright.

Murray, who had vowed not to celebrate if he scored, struggled to make much of an impression. But those who watched him in Palace colours know he only needs a moment. Townsend used his knee to deny the goalpoacher in the 83rd minute.

The Eagles’ third draw of the Premier League campaign keeps them bottom of the table on goal difference and three points adrift of 17th-placed Everton.

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