Sunday, 28 July 2013

Crawley Pluck Eagles

Photo by Michael Hulf (c) @hulfie

The third game of the pre-season campaign took the first team squad to Crawley yesterday.

Prior to the game the away following was building nicely and it was a welcome change to return to a terrace to watch a game. It's been a while. Turning up early was a good chance to see the squad warming up but the clouds above were getting heavy.

The game kicked off and within a few minutes the heavens opened making the pitch, which was in a very good condition, rather tricky. But Palace started well with Campana and Jedinak seeing a lot of the ball. The chances started to flow. First real effort was a Delaney header from a corner that went just wide then a shot from Dobbie deflected over.

A free kick right on the edge of the area, some conversation between Dobbie and Campana over who was going to take it. Interesting considering Campana is not know to speak any English. But Dobbie stood his ground and took the free but it went just over. The home side was starting to come into it and their first effort was perhaps more Speroni dealing with the slippery conditions.

Palace continued to press and had efforts from Wilbraham, Gayle and Thomas all saved by the home keeper who was in inspired form. Then completely against the run of play, Crawley took the lead when an attempted shot was blocked right into the path of Billy Clarke who just had to finish.

This gave the home side encouragement and they pressed and had their best spell of the half and could well have gone two up. A final chance for Palace, a screamer from Jedinak after the ball fell to him just outside the area but it was deflected wide. That is how the score remained going into the half.

The only surprise at the beginning of the second half was that Holloway only made six substitutions. This still made the second half rather disjointed but Jonny Williams stood out as he tried to create something for the visitors throughout. But it was the home team that took the game on with Speroni being worked far more than even he expected.

Even more substitutions took place with just under twenty minutes gone in the second half. WIth captain Jedinak going off we lost that presence in the middle. While Williams and O'Keefe worked hard, neither is that towering tough player that the captain is. The home side soon took a two goal lead which was perhaps deserved. Fitzsimons saved well from the first effort but he could do nothing when the ball fell to Sergio Torres who scored.

Palace huffed and puffed but could not find a goal however hard the tried. The home keeper was having a stormer and was named man of the match at the end. Quincy through on goal but keeper cleared and the trialist with some good skills in the area but got the ball stuck under his feet when all it needed was a perhaps a tap in. Late on Crawley made it three with a great finish at the far post leaving Fitzsimons with no chance. 

Photo by Michael Hulf (c) @hulfie

The offical announcement over the tannoy confirmed that the attendence was around 3100 and they made it clear that over 1700 were travelling fans. Quite a fantastic effort from the Palace faithful and you have got to remember this was only a friendly game. The big positive was Campana. What a player. If this early showing is anything to go by then he will take the Premier League by storm and the fee we paid will look a real steal.

Photographer Michael Hulf (@hulfie) who was at the game told us;

"I have covered all of Crawley's pre-season firnedly matches so far. against league teams they have been very poor. This is the first game that they have played well and it probably helped being against better opposition."

You can view the Michael's pictures from the game here.

Palace lineup - Speroni (Fitzsimons), Moxey (Jerome Williams), Gabbidon (Ramage), Delaney (Wynter), Ward (Taylor), Thomas (A Trialist), Jedinak (O'Keefe), Dobbie (Bolasie), Campana (Jonny Williams), Gayle (Owusu-Abeyie), Wilbraham (Phillips)

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