Saturday, 9 February 2013

08/02/13 League Watford 2-2 draw

Wilf and Joniesta were instrumental

With the away allocation sold out, the Palace away following continued as before to follow the mighty red and blue. This was the first of many big games in the second half of the season, away at the in-form Watford and in front of the Sky cameras.

Ahead of the game, Holloway made his point pretty clear. He had circled the 12 loan signings in the Watford programme, 9 of which were involved in the game.  He is not the first to question the fact that the home side have a rather different recruitment policy to most.

The first half was that similar to a lot of Palace games this season. Just weren’t there, in body but just not in spirit. Courtesy of two poor defensive plays, Watford took an early two goal lead. But slowly, but surely, Palace worked their way back in to it but they did need the half time whistle to give them the much needed impetus.

It was certainly not an typical away atmosphere as the home fans only cheered when they scored their two goals. They were rarely heard of again. The travelling Palace faithful packed one corner of the ground and were in fine voice. That helped spur the team on, never has a game been described as well as this one by a game of two halves. Once again it was timely substitutions that were the key but Wilf Zaha worked his way into the game and simply decided upon himself to torment the home side’s defence. He often had two of three players on him which gave other players space. The corner count was spiralling and it was only a matter of time. And it was one that led to a goal, a rather scrappy one at that, but the ball ended up waiting to be poked away and it was Peter ‘Rambo’ Ramage there to oblige. We were in total control, Watford had disappeared completely, even more so when they took off their top goal scorer Vydra.  

Minutes later the total second half dominance paid dividends and it was the ever green Kevin Phillips to oblige after a wonderful team move. Wilf ran at the defence, almost toying with them, drawing three players to him leaving Jazz Richards to go on the overlap, pick up the ball and cross it far post for an un-marked Phillips to fire home. A fantastic equaliser, and the only shame was Phillips did not celebrate against his former team. But that is the class that he has. Palace had chances to win the game with man of the match Williams and Zaha instrumental in everything. 

Boss Ian Holloway said: "What a class act Kevin is, let's be honest. I don't know anyone as professional as Kevin and that was a hard chance to put away. He's 39 going on 18, and I'm delighted for him. First half, I thought we were too worried about stopping them. I want to attack, so I thoroughly enjoyed the second half. We got what we deserved and maybe by the end we could have nicked something else. We've got 15 games left - let's have a right good go at getting promotion. What we need from now on are some second half performances in the first half."   

View from TheEaglesBeak: That second half performance was one of the best I have witnessed from a Palace side, simply stunning. The only down side was we could not take all three points. On that display we are definitely in with a chance come the end of the season.

01 Speroni
21 Moxey
27 Delaney
28 Ramage – GOAL 66’
03 Richards
07 Bolasie (Phillips 54' – GOAL 70’ )
08 Dikgacoi
12 Marrow – booked (Williams 46’)
11 Dobbie (Butterfield 85’)
16 Zaha
17 Murray - booked

Unused substitutes; 34 Price, 04 Parr, 22 O’Keefe, 18 Wilbraham

Referee; Naylor
Attendence; 15,079

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