Back in the Day: May 6th - Stockport 0-1 Crystal Palace
Monday 6th May 1985
Cardiff City 0-3 Crystal Palace
League Division Two – Att: 5,207
Manager: Steve Coppell
Sunday 6th May 2001
Stockport County 0-1 Crystal Palace
League Division One – Att: 9,782
Manager: Steve Kember (Caretaker)
Victory a few days earlier against relegation rivals Portsmouth had lifted the Eagles out of the relegation zone but with 86 minutes gone at Stockport, Steve Kember’s men had failed to break down the hosts and relegation was looming.
Portsmouth were trouncing Barnsley 3-0 at Fratton Park so it was now only Huddersfield that Palace could overhaul with a win. The Terriers were losing 2-1 at home to Birmingham City which meant that a Palace goal would see the Eagles survive.
A long throw into the Palace area is flicked on by Aaron Wilbraham but Hayden Mullins clears to the edge of the box where David Hopkin challenges for the ball. The Scot clearly handles the ball, but despite everyone else in the stadium seeing it, the referee somehow misses it. As Hopkin lumped the ball down field, I turned to my Dad on the terrace and said: “its big decisions like that that can change games.”
Clinton Morrison pulls the Hopkin clearance down beautifully, ten yards inside the Stockport half, and lays the ball to Dougie Freedman on the left. He runs at his defender and makes it as far as the penalty area where he tries his trick. He is dropping shoulders all over the place and eventually sees his gap, the defender gets a touch on the ball but it bounces favourably for Freedman and suddenly he only has the goalkeeper to beat. The Palace fans behind the goal hold their breath – and Freedman writes his names into Palace folklore with a finish high into the roof of the net.
Terraces are wonderful things. I jumped and my feet did not touch the ground for what seemed like an age as I was swept along with the crowd. Palace fans poured onto the pitch in celebration, Steve Kember run around in circles on the side line – but it was not done yet.
Palace needed Birmingham to hold on at the McAlpine Stadium, but there were several minutes left due to an injury in that match. Portable radios were held to ears all over the away end by fans struggling to listen to the fuzzy medium-waves.
I have since seen back the footage of the final few minutes of that game (I have searched but cannot find them on the internet – let me know if you can!) and it revealed to me that Birmingham stopper Ian Bennett should be hailed as a Crystal Palace legend (along with Curtis Woodhouse who scored both of the Brum goals that day). With seconds remaining, Andy Booth looks set to tap home and send Palace down, but somehow Bennett flies across his goal to deny the equaliser. A truly stunning save that we owe an awful lost to.
Palace Links: Future Palace strikers Aaron Wilbraham and Shefki Kuqi made up the Stockport front line in this one.
Saturday 6th May 2006
Crystal Palace 0-3 Watford
Championship Play-Offs Semi Final 1st Leg – Att: 22,880
Manager: Iain Dowie
On March 31st, Palace beat Watford 3-1 at Selhurst Park and the Eagles had also won 2-1 at Vicarage Road back in December– but there was to be no repeat performance when it really mattered. The scores were level at half-time but just a minute into the second half, Marlon King (46) made it 1-0 and on 67 minutes the Selhurst Park crowd was silenced by a stunning Ashley Young free kick.
With Watford utterly dominant it was key for Palace to stay in the game for the second leg – 5 minutes from time Matthew Spring made it 3-0 and that was all she wrote.
Sunday 6th May 2007
Colchester United 0-2 Crystal Palace
Championship – Att: 5,857
Manager: Peter Taylor
James Scowcroft (11) and Ben Watson (69 pen) scored the goals that gave Palace victory on the last day of the season, resulting in a disappointing 12th place finish for Peter Taylor’s men.
This game was more memorable for the chant from the Palace fans that earned them a third place finish in the ‘Chant of the Season’ awards. “You’re just the shit in a burger” (or something along those lines) to Colchester keeper, Dean Gerken.
Tuesday 6th May 2014
Julian Speoni wins Crystal Palace Player of the Season for a record 4th time at the Fairfield Halls in Croydon.
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