Back in the Day: May 5th - Crystanbul: Palace 3-3 Liverpool

Back in the Day

Saturday 5th May 1979

Orient 0-1 Crystal Palace

League Division Two – Att: 19,945

Manager: Terry Venables

Football was not always like it is now. Now every team’s last fixture of the season is played at the same time as every other team in the division, in the spirit of fairness. In 1979 this was not the case. Four teams were vying for the title and the three promotion places going into May 5th – but Palace had a game in hand over their rivals.

Thousands of Palace fans flooded into Brisbane Road but were left to wait until just after the hour for the one and only goal of the game. Vince Hilaire did well to keep possession on the edge of the Orient penalty area before sliding the ball left towards Kenny Sansom. The fullback cut back on to his right foot and lifted a perfect cross to the back post, and there was Dave Swindlehurst to head the ball past John Jackson and into the top corner. The terraces went wild!

Elsewhere, Brighton won 3-1 at Newcastle, Stoke won 1-0 at Notts County, and Sunderland won 2-1 at Wrexham. With Palace winning 1-0 at Orient it meant that a point in their final game against Burnley would see them promoted in third place, at the expense of Sunderland – but a win would see them overhaul Brighton and be crowned champions of Division Two.

1st Half Highlights

2nd Half Highlights

Palace Links: Legend John Jackson played in goal for the O’s, with former Eagle Alan Whittle and future Eagle Henry Hughton also representing the hosts.

Saturday 5th May 1984

Crystal Palace 2-0 Swansea City

League Division Two – Att: 5,320

Manager: Alan Mullery

Peter Nicholas made his 150th Palace appearance in this one.

Saturday 5th May 1990

Crystal Palace 2-2 Manchester City

League Division One – Att: 20,056

Manager: Steve Coppell

It was the final day of the league season and the last game before the FA Cup final. Alan Pardew (3) scored from a Mark Bright knock down before Andy Gray (10) thundered in a stunning free kick from range seven minutes later.

Gary O’Reilly was penalised for a handball in the box twenty minutes before time, and Clive Allen (71) converted the spot kick before Garry Thompson was sent off for the Eagles ten minutes later. With just a minute left on the clock, Nail Quinn (89) got away with a handball before firing home past Nigel Martyn – but the Palace fans were not going to let the late comeback dampen the spirits.

Manchester City fans then swarmed onto the pitch after the match, holding aloft banners that offered support to Palace in the final against Manchester United - the two groups of fans swapped scarves, and a brief friendship was born.

Palace Link: Former Palace flop Clive Allen appeared as a sub for the visitors in this one.

Monday 5th May 2014

Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool

Premier League – Att: 25,261

Manager: Tony Pulis

choked, a game comes along and makes one realise that one has never seen it all when it comes to football.

Let’s set the scene. Manchester City and Liverpool both sit at the top of the league on 80 points. Both teams have scored 96 goals, but Liverpool have conceded was more than City’s 37. Liverpool needed to beat Palace by a comfortable margin to put the pressure back on City, who still had tricky looking games against Villa and West Ham left to come.

18 minutes into the match and the visitors are off and running. Joe Allen (18), probably the shortest man on the pitch, heads home a corner in front of the Holmesdale. This was the first time that Crystal Palace had conceded from a set piece since Tony Pulis was appointed as manager.

It stayed this way until half-time, but within three second-half minutes – Liverpool were dreaming of a title-winning performance.

Daniel Sturridge’s shot from the edge of the penalty area was deflected in off Damien Delaney (53 og) before Luis Suarez (55) slotted under Julian Speroni to make it 3-0. The travelling support were in raptures and singing “we want eight” – they should have settled for nil.

The atmosphere at Palace was widely considered the best in England at this point, and this is the night that probably consolidated the argument for many. 0-3 down and with Liverpool swarming all over us, you would be forgiven for thinking that a few Palace fans would slope off early and for the atmosphere to die down. The complete opposite happened. Everyone stayed, and everyone sang that little bit louder. After the turnaround that we had witnessed in the season - relegation certainties pre-Pulis to European qualification form after his appointment – it seemed that the Palace faithful didn’t want to let the season die with a whimper.

11 minutes from time, Delaney (79) let fly from range with a speculative effort, the ball took a deflection off Glenn Johnson and flew past Simon Mignolet and into the top corner. As soon as the ball hit the back of the net, something changed in the air at Selhurst Park. Perhaps you had to be there, but I am telling you that every Palace fan in the ground at that point KNEW that we were going to come back.

With the Palace fans in full voice, Liverpool had a great chance to re-establish their three-goal lead, but Speroni tipped Coutinho’s effort over the bar, and from the resulting corner the rest of the world discovered Yannick Bolasie.

The corner was whipped in and Steven Gerrard should probably have been awarded a penalty, but the referee missed the tussling in the box. The ball was then recycled to the edge of the area where Allen’s shot was blocked, and with a simple pass from Joe Ledley to Bolasie, Palace were on the counter-attack – “Bolasie is the right man here for Palace” said Martin Tyler on the Sky coverage. The Palace winger raced away before knocking the ball past Johnson and leaving the England full-back for dead. His cutback found substitute Dwight Gayle (81) who produced a low finish into the far bottom corner. 

With two minutes remaining, Liverpool fan Scott Dann lifts the ball into the edge of the area towards Glenn Murray. The number seventeen climbs and with a twist of the torso puts Gayle through one on one with the most outrageous of chested through-balls. Gayle (88) easily slotted the ball past Mignolet to send Selhurst Park wild.

Both sides had chances to win the match as Tom Ince wasted a Palace breakaway and Victor Moses slashed at the ball and fouled to make contact from eight yards out.

With one of the greatest comebacks English Football has ever seen, Palace had scored 10% of their goals for the season in one game, handed City the title and, more importantly, caused Luis Suarez to collapse in a flood of tears on the hallowed Selhurst Park turf.

As the Palace players lapped the pitch, as is the tradition on the last home game of the season, there was added emotion. It was genuinely believed at the time that this would be the last appearance for Julian Speroni at Selhurst Park. The Palace stopper was visibly chocked up and crying very different tears to his fellow South American opponent on the night.

What a night!



Palace Link: Victor Moses came on as a late sub for the Reds – and missed a sitter.

Other Results

What Happened Yesterday?

May 4th




Did you find this Article interesting?

Tweet us your comments