Thursday, 7 March 2013

Eagles Tame Tigers Roar

We here at The Eagles Beak always welcome contributions to the blog from fans. Here with have another devoted Palace fan Paul Price with his views and thoughts from the win over promotion rivals Hull City ...

Picture courtesy of @CPFC_Alex
After arriving at Selhurst Park at around 7pm, the obvious place to head to was the Red and Blue Bar for a few nerve settlers. The atmosphere was already really good and you could instantly tell that we were building towards a big night in this year’s league campaign.

On top of the obvious league positions, closeness in points and automatic promotion places at stake, Steve Bruce was the visiting manager and the whole BoydGate affair was still fresh in most fan’s memories.

In the days preceding the game, I was really hoping for a good crowd to cheer on the lads as the 12th man. This was going to be vital on a night like this and, we knew that the faithful could up the noise level and turn fortress Selhurst into a proper SE25 cauldron.

After taking my seat, watching the fantastic Crystal Girls, listening to a bit of Faithless and a rousing rendition of Glad All Over from the Palace faithful, I was ready for the game. For some reason, I had not properly seen the team selection for the evening and was excited to see that Ian Holloway had picked a very attacking formation. We were going to go for it and grab the points!

At 8pm, the referee blew the whistle and the highly anticipated game was underway. Within a minute, a long range effort from the Tigers went wide of the target. Both teams seemed to settle quite well given the occasion but, in my opinion Hull made the slightly better start with a number of corners. Palace were also awarded a number of free kicks in the opening 15 minutes that went un-punished given the rather robust challenges coming in from the Hull players.

Just before the 20 minute mark, Palace were awarded another free kick that Mile Jedinak lined up to take. Unfortunately this did not come to anything and was cleared fairly easily. Joniesta’s attempt shortly after also missed the target but, it did feel as though momentum was starting to build. Goal-machine Ramage could have scored earlier when the Hull keeper did not catch the ball properly and dropped it in front of the him only for it to be blocked on the line.

In the 28th minute, Palace were awarded a penalty for a foul on Jonny. Glenn Murray placed the ball and struck it to the goalkeeper’s right hand side but, to the horror of 16,000 fans+ it was saved by the big (bright orange) goalkeeper (Stockdale). It almost came as no surprise that we did not score, the night was still young, there was so much at stake and a whole lot more drama ahead.

The game pulsated backwards and forwards for the remainder of the first half with Palace improving and gaining more confidence as the half continued. I was beginning to worry that we had played a number of our aces with such an initial attacking line-up, it was nearly half-time and we did not have a goal to show for our positive team selection. As the half time whistle beckoned, Muzza took a shot which hit the hand of Jack Hobbs in the penalty box. Another penalty!!

This time, “Super” Kevin Phillips placed the ball and struck it slightly higher to the keeper’s centre / right. It appeared from where I was that the keeper got his hand to it but, the power in the shot took it into the net. The half time whistle blew – Awesome 1-0 Palace!

The second half was set-up now for Palace who would hopefully reap the benefits of a Hull side that would have to attack due to needing to get something out of the game to maintain their league position.

The whole Palace team played some amazing football in the first half and despite a few Hull corners and a few wayward shots, we looked in control. Jonny Williams had been given the green light to start the game and had re-paid the manager’s selection with an amazing first half that far out-weighed his tender years and experience which now comes as no real surprise.

Another quick beer and ready for the second half. Five minutes into the second half and Palace made it 2-0 with an assist from Wilfried to KP – the crowd go wild again. Could the night get any better? The crowd is jubilant and bouncing, the evening is warm and we are 2-0 nil up against second placed Hull.

Picture courtesy of @HiFlyingEagle
The night did in fact get even better within a couple of minutes from a deflected effort from Super Kev’s boot from outside the box. It was going to be our night – 3 points here we come!

Shortly after, Hull make the first of their substitutions where one player I have never heard of went off and another one that I have never heard of came on. Soon after, the first substitution is made from the Palace bench when Jonathan Parr joining the action as little Johnny Williams leaves the field to a standing ovation and his name ringing out in his ears.

A few more shots and free-kicks later, Hull break their duck with a goal from Jay Simpson on 72 minutes. Oh no! A little bit of tension wells up inside me but, is soon dispersed due to the on-going and constant support of the Palace crowd, getting behind the boys and encouraging them to push on and seal the win.

Two minutes after the goal and Palace make another substitution with the introduction on Yannick Bolasie for Kevin Phillips. Again, Kevin leaves the field of play to another standing ovation and “Super Kevin Phillips” being cried from the terraces from our admiring fans.

My mind switches back to Yannick’s arrival to the field. Definitely already a Palace favourite for his speed, tekkers and work-rate. Can’t believe that we now have a squad where we can rotate and make substitutions of this calibre.

On 76 minutes, Glenn Murray sets up Wilfried for my personal favourite goal of the night. From where I was sitting it looked as though Wilf’ goaded the keeper, dropped his shoulder, gave him the eyes (and a number of other footballing anecdotes) before slotting the ball past the hapless keeper into the bottom right hand corner of the goal. The crowd watched on in awe at what they had just seen and, the awe continued with what they were about to see. Wilfried then ran over towards the Main Stand and carried out his very own dance routine that I hope to see view a few more times on Twitter before it is erased from my short-term memory.

Stephen Dobbie makes an appearance on the hallowed turf just before the 80 minute mark for Butterfield. I look at the clock – 80 minutes – Palace 4 – Hull City 1.

A further 10 minutes of shots (including a great one from Dobbie on 86 minutes), free kicks and Palace singing Damien Delaney made an unfair challenge (depends who you ask) on Jay Simpson. Over 90 minutes gone now and the ball is delivered into the Palace box which is then headed home from close range into the Palace net.

I think that the conceded goals were the only real down-side to an otherwise amazing Palace performance. Hull City did not really deserve the goals and, I think that most Palace fans would agree that they were both fairly soft goals to give away. However, given that the final score was 4-2 to Palace, I don’t think anybody minded too much and everybody went home happy with a job well done.

As an overall summary of the game. The whole team / squad played really well, looked comfortable against good opposition and knocked the ball around really well. Kevin Phillips was a real star of the show with his amazing hatrick that will live long on our memories. Wilfried had a great game but for me, Johnny Williams was my Man of the Match. I thought that the little guy had an awesome game for the time that he was on, he took the game to Hull, encouraged those around him and put in some great challenges. Amazingly mature performance and attitude.

The crowd at Palace again proved themselves to be the best in the country for their on-going singing, encouragement and support for the Red and Blue Army.

There are still 10 games to go, 30 points to be won, the places above are up for grabs and, with this team / squad, the manager, board, support and general set-up then, we have a great chance. Whatever happens, it has been a great season with some great results, thrilling games and exciting football which can only bode well for the future of our great club.

#beloudbeproudbepalace #cpfc #cpfcfamily #ontothenextone

Article by Paul Price @Paul_Pricey

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