Middlesbrough 1 Crystal Palace 1

Last updated : 03 April 2010 By Footymad Previewer
Middlesbrough's surge for a play-off spot took a knock after they only managed a 1-1 draw with relegation-threatened Crystal Palace at Riverside Stadium.

Alessan N'Diaye's header gave Crystal Palace a vital point in their fight for Championship survival after 'Boro striker Scott McDonald opened the scoring.

Palace went close to breaking the deadlock when Alan Lee picked up possession in opposition territory before crashing a shot off the right-hand upright after beating Stephen McManus and David Wheater.

But it was the hosts who went ahead as McDonald grabbed his second goal for the club on 15 minutes.

He bundled in Gary O'Neil's cross after the skipper was sent clear down the right by Justin Hoyte.

Boro were then denied a penalty just before the interval when Patrick McCarthy misjudged the bounce of the ball and brought down McDonald just as he was shaping to shoot.

Referee Graham Salisbury was unmoved by Boro's appeal's and to rub salt into their wounds, N'Diaye equalised soon after.

Towering French midfielder N'Diaye ensured his side left with a point when he headed Lee's cross home from inside the six-yard box.

Boro had by far the better of a high-tempo second-half and went close shortly after the re-start when Chris Killen's downward header was saved by Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

Substitute Leroy Lita had a chance to give Boro the lead shortly after coming on when he sent a glancing header wide at the far post.

Speroni's stretching dive was enough to push Barry Robson's powerful low drive from 25-yards away soon after.

McDonald also headed on to the roof of the net from a Jonathan Franks cross then Speroni denied O'Neil from a Lita flick.

However, Gordon Strachan's side were unable to find a way through a resolute Palace defence, and it will be Paul Hart and his men who will be happier with the point.