Back in the Day: April 9th - Paul Nixon Loses his Life in 1995

Back in the Day

Saturday 9th April 1983

Crystal Palace 2-1 Carlisle United

League Division Two – Att: 5,750

Manager: Alan Mullery

Saturday 9th April 1994

Crystal Palace 1-0 Millwall

League Division One – Att: 23,562

Manager: Alan Smith

Crystal Palace moved to within a single win of guaranteed automatic promotion with a win against local rivals Millwall. Chris Armstrong (62) scored the only goal of the game, a diving header just after the hour. Palace had just been denied what looked to be a stonewall penalty for a foul on Paul Stewart, but the Eagles didn’t stop and Armstrong headed home a trademark diving header from a Dean Gordon cross.

Sunday 9th April 1995

Crystal Palace 2-2 Manchester United (AET)

FA Cup Semi Final – Att: 38,256

Manager: Alan Smith

Alan Smith led Crystal Palace into the Club’s third FA Cup Semi Final against Alex Ferguson’s Manchester United. After hammering Wolves in the quarter-final replay, a win over Manchester City and a draw against Aston Villa had followed and Palace entered the game quietly confident. Iain Dowie (33) then headed the Eagles into a first-half lead and the Palace support at Villa Park were dreaming of Wembley.

A fantastic Dennis Irwin (77) free kick from range would force the game to extra time, but two minutes into the first extra period Chris Armstrong (92) put the Eagles back in front. The striker raced away and lofted the ball over Peter Schmeichel, but the lead would last just four minutes. A long Gary Neville throw was nodded home by Gary Pallister (96) and this meant that the two teams would return to Villa Park just three days later for the replay.

Unfortunately, there would be one Palace fan that would not return to the replay. Pre-match trouble saw Crystal Palace fan Paul Nixon lose his life after a group of Palace fans were attacked by a group of United fans outside a pub in Walsall. Crystal Palace fans would boycott the replay in droves and the attendance in the replay would be less than half the attendance for the original game.

Bad blood between the two sets of fans had arisen after Eric Cantona was sent off at Selhurst Park earlier in the season and proceeded in jumping into the stands to fly kick and punch Palace fan, Matthew Simmons. Despite the fact that this resulted in the death of a human being, Manchester United fans continue to celebrate the Frenchman whenever they return to Selhurst Park. Take from that what you will.

In 2016, in a match against Norwich City at Selhurst, Palace fans climbed to their feet in the 21st minute of the match to applaud for Paul Nixon.

RIP.

Saturday 9th April 2016

Crystal Palace 1-0 Norwich City

Premier League - Att: 24,960

Manager: Alan Pardew

Crystal Palace had not won a league game in 12 matches and had lost six in a row at home in the League. The fall down the league, from the Champions League places to 16th, was soul destroying and relegation was now a real possibility.

Norwich came to Selhurst Park sitting three points and one position below Alan Pardew's men - nothing but a win would do.

The game was drab. The few half chances that came Palace's way were wasted and Damien Delaney could consider himself lucky not to give away a penalty for a rather robust challenge on Matt Jarvis.

The nerves were starting to set in before Jason Puncheon came up with a moment of magic. His left-footed shot from the edge of the box found the bottom corner and ended his 27 game goal drought. The response from the Selhurst Park crowd and Puncheon was memorable.

"IT'S PUNCHEON, IT'S BEAUTIFUL!"

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