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Bramall Lane (ATT 23,045) 20th December 2008 - Kick off 17:20 Ref: P Taylor

Sheff Utd Sheffield United vs Crystal Palace C Palace

Carle strike denies Blades

Eagles salvage last-gasp share of the spoils

Last Updated: 20/12/08 7:33pm

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Carle: Last-gasp leveller

Carle: Last-gasp leveller

Nick Carle struck with the last kick of the game as Crystal Palace snatched a 2-2 draw against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane.

It had looked like being an unhappy return for Neil Warnock to South Yorkshire when James Beattie fired the home side ahead from the penalty spot late on.

The Blades had taken the lead through Nathan Dyer's fine finish just before half-time, however, Palace levelled virtually straight after the restart through Paddy McCarthy.

Beattie's penalty had looked enough to give United all three points before Carle smashed a left-footed volley home as Palace through caution to the wind deep into injury-time.

Both sides offered little until Beattie called Julian Speroni into action for the first time in the 35th minute. Beattie chanced his arm from 35 yards with a dipping free-kick but the shot was straight at the Palace goalkeeper.

Dyer then pounced on an awful 41st-minute back header from Jose Fonte to run through and drive across Speroni from the edge of the area.

Swift leveller

Warnock will not have been happy with his side's opening half but they were level within two minutes of the restart.

Carle's corner from the right was not cleared and centre-half McCarthy latched onto the loose ball to crash a left-footed volley past Paddy Kenny from eight yards.

The Eagles continued to press and teenager Sean Scannell should have worked Kenny but after a delightful first touch made space for a shot he lost his footing.

Kevin Blackwell's side had been on the back foot but came close to regaining the lead in the 63rd minute.

Matthew Kilgallon - operating at left-back - made a bright run down the line and delivered a good cross to the near post where Danny Webber got in front of his marker but flashed his header into the side netting.

Speroni was then at his best to claw another Webber header out before reacting quickly to gather the loose ball ahead of Ugo Ehiogu.

Top save

It was a top save to keep the Eagles in it and they went straight down the other end to fashion an even better chance.

John Oster hit a tame free-kick into the wall but Shaun Derry collected the ball to crash a 25-yard strike onto the crossbar.

The rebound fell perfectly for McCarthy to slot his second but the defender this time produced a terrible finish to shank over with the goal at his mercy.

It was to prove a costly miss as McCarthy was then harshly penalised for a push on Beattie and the striker slammed home emphatically from the penalty spot.

That looked like settling the matter until the 95th minute when Derry's desperate ball forward was only half cleared and Carle showed admirable technique to steer a powerful volley into the bottom corner from the edge of the area.

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Sky Bet Championship

Sky Bet Championship
Pos Team P Pts
1 Bournemouth 22 42
2 Ipswich Town 22 41
3 Brentford 22 40
4 Middlesbrough 22 39
5 Derby County 22 39
6 Watford 22 38
7 Norwich City 22 34
8 Blackburn Rovers 22 34
9 Nottingham Forest 22 31
10 Wolverhampton Wanderers 22 31
11 Cardiff City 22 30
12 Charlton Athletic 22 30
13 Fulham 22 28
14 Sheffield Wednesday 22 28
15 Birmingham City 22 28
16 Bolton Wanderers 22 26
17 Reading 22 25
18 Leeds United 22 24
19 Rotherham United 22 24
20 Huddersfield Town 22 24
21 Millwall 22 23
22 Brighton and Hove Albion 22 19
23 Wigan Athletic 22 17
24 Blackpool 22 13