Honours even as Crystal Palace travel to Brighton for Championship play-off second leg
PUBLISHED: 10:26 13 May 2013 | UPDATED: 10:39 13 May 2013
Crystal Palace travel to bitter rivals Brighton tonight hoping to secure a place at Wembley in the Championship play-off semi-final second leg.
The two sides met on Friday night, when 97 minutes could not separate the two in a stalemate that ended goalless and saw Eagles top-scorer, Glenn Murray, stretchered off the field.
Brighton started the brightest of the two sides and on-loan midfielder Dean Hammond should have given them an important lead, but his header was directed straight into the gloves of home goalkeeper Julian Speroni.
It took Ian Holloway’s men 50 minutes to find any form in the first-leg, coming into the match on the back of a solitary win in their last 10 league matches.
Wilfried Zaha, who joined Manchester United in January, tested Tomas Kuszczak - who got down well to make a smart save.
The pressure continued on Brighton, with Jonathan Williams just failing to connect with a Zaha cross in the six-yard line to give the home side the lead.
Moments later, midfielder Orlandi was forced to make a goal-line clearance for The Seagulls after Danny Gabbidon directed an inswinging free-kick goalwards.
It was on 66 minutes when Palace lost Murray, who looks to be out for the season with knee ligament damage, but their form wasn’t damaged as Inigo Calderon was forced to make a last-minute clearance from Joel Ward’s searching cross.
The result will come as a frustrating one for The Eagles who perhaps deserved to take a narrow lead to the Amex Stadium tonight. However, Holloway’s men know a single goal could be all they need to make it to Wembley - though the task is made harder by the absence of Championship top-scorer Murray.
Kick-off at The Amex is at 7.45pm, with the game is live on Sky Sports 1 from 7.30pm.