Monday, 15 April 2013

06/04/13 league Barnsley (h) 0-0 draw

This match report comes from fan and regular contributor to The Eagles Beak, Paul Price.

After recent results for Palace, all focus was on the next game at Selhurst Park between Crystal Palace and Barnsley. To add to the occasion it was also Family Day which meant that there was going to be a good crowd, lots of young faces and a great atmosphere.

Twitter had got quite a few Palace fans into a frenzy before match day so, the stakes were high. “Palace expects” was the under-lying message. This game was to be the turning point after some recent defeats and no goals in the previous 3 games. It was also the game that was going to push us further towards the automatic promotion places at the top of the league.

Barnsley’s recent run of excellent form had also not gone unnoticed despite their league position.

On the actual day I was very lucky in that a friend had a spare place in one of the Executive boxes so, I took his arm off and booked my spot having never been in the boxes before. I also had the pleasure of meeting Kevin Day who is a really genuine and down to earth bloke. I arrived very early, had some early beers and took my spot for the game.

First of all, the ref had decided that Barnsley’s kit clashed with the beautiful red and blue of the mighty Palace and insisted that Barnsley wear the Palace yellow away shirts. Rumour has it that they had to buy 20 shirts, names and numbers from the club shop (which in turn assisted with our recent financial returns to Companies House).

It looked very strange when both teams took to the pitch (Palace v Palace). The game kicked off and Palace (the red and blue ones) were dominant from the off and, it appeared that early nerves were not going to be an issue.

There were a few long-range shots from the Tykes but, no real threat to be honest. The first Palace chance came from a delivery from the returning Joel Ward to Murray but, the shot was saved by Steele.

Palace then turned up the heat with a number of early corners and free kicks but, could not break the Barnsley defence. The Eagles were also looking more confident in open play with Moritz looking good, Yannick looking very determined and Zaha looking down-right dangerous every time he got the ball. Jonny was also playing well but, should have made sure that he had checked his back for the “kick me” sign that the Barnsley players were strictly adhering to.

On around the half hour mark, Muzza took another shot which was again saved by the Barnsley keeper. The last 15 minutes were filled with further shots from Bolasie, Zaha and Moritz but, everything was either completely missing the target or being saved without too much difficulty.

The real highlight of the first half was a great free kick from Andre Moritz that nearly flew into the top corner only to be saved by the Barnsley keeper (again!!!). Basically a great first half, complete Palace possession, loads of shots but still 0-0.

The second half kicked off and played out the same as the first half had ended, with early chances from Jedi and Moritz but, the stubborn Barnsley defence was still holding firm. On around the 60 minute mark, the ball was crossed by Moritz and Murray missed a close range header.

Phillips joined the action shortly afterwards as a replacement for Moritz (who I thought was having a really good game) but, it felt positive so, a goal must be coming soon....... surely.

At around the 70 minute mark, Barnsley get away their third shot of the game. Their last shot had been around the 5 minute mark.

Further pressure and some great mazy runs by Zaha followed but, still Palace could not get the ball into the net. Dobbie arrived on the pitch as a replacement for Bolasie with about 15 minutes of normal time to go. With 10 minutes to go, Aaron Wilbraham took his place up front next to Phillips and Murray was retired from the action, in what felt like a very strange substitution.

Further attempts from Wilbraham, Phillips and Joniesta also missed the target as the game fell away slowly before Dobbie converted the try and sent the ball sailing over the bar in the 90th minute. Two to three minutes of added time and a frustrating afternoon came to an end with the blow of the referee’s whistle.

Palace had had 23 shots on goal against Barnsley’s 3. 12 of the 23 Palace shots were on target and the other 11 caused severe stinging faces to some Palace fans in the Upper Holmesdale who were hit by the flying ball without warning. Well, that’s what it looked / felt like!

It honestly felt as though the ref could have added another 30 minutes of extra time and removed the Barnsley lads from the pitch for afternoon Tiffin and, we would still have not got the ball into the net. Well, that’s how it goes sometimes...

At the end of the game, I was surprised to see Barnsley fans eagerly trying to grab the customised Palace away kits from the Tyke’s players.

Taking the positives from the game, Joniesta played well along with Zaha, Bolasie and Moritz. Delaney and Ramage (despite the lack of Barnsley chances) looked comfortable, Ward and Parr were very accomplished and looked very good. Jedinak was Jedinak.  Basically, a great deal of passion and energy from the Palace lads, a clean sheet and we now look to have turned a corner for the run-in.

Another highlight to me was the 21,281 fans that had crammed into Selhurst Park on that fine afternoon, a great #TIFO from the Lower Holmesdale and the return of the majestic Kayla the eagle from Eagle Heights.

Come on the Palace! #finalpush #PalaceNation

Match report by Paul Price (@Paul_Pricey)

View from Ian Holloway - "The more we get a point and not three the worse it will be, all we have to do is try and get some rhythm back to us and start scoring goals again. We have to take it in small steps, we have definitely stayed up, then you have to try and get enough to get in the play-offs, then that first or second spot after that. What we have to do is get on a better run than this, the people that time those runs are normally successful."

View from The Eagles Beak - It's never easy being a Palace fan. We were never going to get automatic promotion blowing so hot and cold. All we can ask for is to find some form to secure a play off place. Then anything can happen ... 

01 Speroni

02 Ward

27 Delaney

28 Ramage

04 Parr

07 Bolasie (Dobbie 77')

15 Jedinak - booked

20 Williams - booked
30 Moritz (K Phillips 64')
16 Zaha
17 Murray (Wilbraham 80')

Unused substitutes; 34 Price, 33 Gabbidon, 03 Richards, 12 Marrow

Referee; Stroud
Attendence; 21,281

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