BY SAM SMITH
An incredible Vicente Guaita save earned Crystal Palace a goalless draw in an otherwise lacklustre game against Everton.
The Spaniard sensationally kept out Cenk Tosun with 12 minutes remaining for a Palace side that failed to test Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
Both teams went close during an exciting beginning to the game. Max Meyer struck the side-netting with Palace’s first chance, before Martin Kelly denied Gylfi Sigurdsson’s close-range strike with a fantastic block.
Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s improvement into a complete full-back, able to attack and contribute in the final third just as capably as he is defending his own goal, was epitomised as the England U21 international created two chances in quick succession.
First, he raced down the right-hand side and his cross was cleared as far as Luka Milivojevic, whose volley from 25 yards whistled over the bar. Then, Wan-Bissaka wriggled his way around two challenges before teeing up Max Meyer but the German could not work enough room to produce a shot.
Shots on target were a rare occurrence in the first half, although Idrissa Gana Gueye did test Guaita from range as the half drew to a close.
Everton continued to create the chances of better quality in the second half. Patrick van Aanholt’s poor clearance set up Toffees winger Bernard who struck the foot of Guaita’s post.
Andros Townsend replaced Meyer with Roy Hodgson seeking to add fresh impetus to an increasingly frustrated Palace attack. The build-up to each move was excellent but the Eagles lacked a quality final pass or shot.
And they would have been made to pay had it not been for a stunning save from Guaita. Cenk Tosun powerfully backheeled a cross goalwards from close range, which the Spaniard incredibly reacted instantaneously to, diving across his goal to beat the ball away.
The save would prove important for Palace, although not without one final scare as Lucas Digne’s cross looped on to Guaita’s post. The Eagles remain 12th and within just a point of last season’s points tally of 44.