BLACK­BURN ....1 C PALACE ........1

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Paddy von Behr

IAN Hol­loway claims Crys­tal Palace’s play-off nerves would have been over had Black­burn’s Grant Han­ley not “cheated” and de­nied his side vic­tory.

The mo­ment in ques­tion came 20 min­utes from the end at Ewood Park, Scot­land in­ter­na­tional Han­ley ap­peared to push Ea­gles striker Glenn Mur­ray in the box with the scores level at 11 – much to the an­noy­ance of Hol­loway.

Ear­lier Stephen Dob­bie had given Palace the lead, but Jor­dan Rhodes struck to leave Hol­loway’s side cling­ing to a play-off place – al­though still with a game in hand on their ri­vals.

“Do I need to men­tion the most bla­tant shove on any­one I’ve ever seen? I don’t un­der­stand what ex­cuses (the of­fi­cials) have got not to see that,” said Hol­loway.

“If that’s not a penalty, I don’t know what is. I just find it pretty sick­en­ing. Am I ex­ag­ger­at­ing or not?

“He would have scored with­out them cheat­ing at that point, be­cause that's what it is isn't it? You can’t de­fend prop­erly be­cause you shove some­body over. What more do you want Glenn to do?

“Some­times it’s hard when you don’t get what you want and you’ve got to re­act to it – we’ve got to keep go­ing.

“And when all around you don’t be­lieve you’ve got to keep believ­ing and that’s the beau­ti­ful thing about life.

“We’ve got an ex­tra game to ev­ery­one else, we’ve got Mill­wall (on Tues­day).

“If we can win that we’re def­i­nitely in the play-offs. It’s still in our hands, but I thought it should have been over here.”

Palace will want to se­cure a top-six berth as soon as pos­si­ble, they are now with­out a win in eight games but at least Dob­bie is find­ing his shoot­ing boots. He struck just be­fore the half-hour mark when he col­lected Mur­ray’s knock­down, skipped past Han­ley and slot­ted into the bot­tom left-hand cor­ner from 12 yards – fol­low­ing on from his ef­fort in the 2-2 draw with Le­ices­ter last Satur­day.

The winger al­most dou­bled his and Palace’s tally six min­utes later but he sent a 30yard free-kick nar­rowly wide of Greg San­domier­ski’s right­hand post.

Rhodes equalised though three min­utes be­fore the break, col­lect­ing Josh King’s through ball on the left and lob­bing Ju­lian Sper­oni with the out­side of his right foot.

Af­ter the break Aaron Wil­bra­ham caught Rovers’ off­side trap nap­ping, be­fore run­ning clear down the left and skim­ming the bar from a tight an­gle.

Palace struck the wood­work again shortly af­ter the hour mark when skip­per Mile Je­d­i­nak headed Dob­bie’s cor­ner against the bar from eight yards out be­fore Han­ley’s shove on Mur­ray.

But for Black­burn, who are now of­fi­cially safe from the drop, it was an end to a trau­matic week af­ter their own lawyers ad­mit­ted the club was “a sham­bles” in the £2.25m Hen­ning Berg com­pen­sa­tion case on Fri­day.

“I can’t con­trol the court case so I don’t waste my time read­ing about it,” said Rovers care­taker boss Gary Bowyer.

“It has no ef­fect on the game so it’s a waste of time look­ing at it, to be hon­est. But this is a good point against a very good side.

“They’re an at­tack­ing team and they play a pass­ing game and I thought we matched that at times and played some good stuff our­selves.

“With a bit more care in the at­tack­ing third we might have won it. Look­ing for­ward to next week is all we can do – that’s a long time at this football club to look for­ward to.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

HAPPY CHAPS: Stephen Dob­bie cel­e­brates his goal with Aaron Wil­bra­ham

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