Back in the Day: May 13th - Brighton 0-2 Crystal Palace "Zaha, Oh Yes!"

Back in the Day

Saturday 13th May 1989

Crystal Palace 4-1 Birmingham City

League Division Two – Att: 17,581

Manager: Steve Coppell

Crystal Palace went into the last game of the season with an outside chance of automatic promotion, but Manchester City earned the point they need to secure second place. Palace would have to settle for the Play-Offs and went into them in top form.

Birmingham were blown away by four goals in 17 minutes. Ian Wright (12, 20, 29) scored a hat-trick, and an Ian Clarkson (12) own goal saw the game one, but the game is more remembered for what happened in the stands, and then on the pitch in the fancy dress battle.

Monday 13th May 2013

Brighton 0-2 Crystal Palace

Championship Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg – Att: 29,518

Manager: Ian Holloway

After drawing 0-0 in the first leg, Crystal Palace travelled to the Amex with the home side already thinking that they were at Wembley. They were to be terribly mistaken.

The drama started long before the game kicked off. The Palace players arrived late after the coach was sent in the wrong direction and when the players finally did arrive, they did not get what they expected in the changing room. There was shit on the floor, and the room reeked. Ian Holloway lost the plot – “I don’t expect that sort of shite to happen!

Of course, it has since come out that it was actually the Crystal Palace coach driver that shit in the changing room after falling ill on his dry run to the stadium earlier in the week. He didn’t say what had happened and a Brighton official innocently locked the doors to the changing room, and the door was not opened again until Palace arrived. Gus Poyet would send an email around to the whole Club, lambasting everyone for allowing it to happen (i.e. thinking that someone from Brighton had actually done it) and he paid for his outburst with his job.

The first half was a tense affair; the second half was not. Minutes into the second half it looked like Palace had wasted a huge opportunity to win the tie. Brighton hadn’t won a game all season when conceding the first goal, so the first goal was key. Wilfried Zaha broke away and fed Jonny Williams with the perfect through ball; the little Welshman dragged his shot just wide.

Brighton threw on Ashley Barnes and, with his first touch, he almost scored. A long ball, “just not typically Brighton”, was thrown towards the edge of the Palace box and a flick put Barnes through on goal. He lifted the ball past Speroni and the ball cannoned off the crossbar, and Delaney headed it out for a corner. To the naked eye it looked like Barnes had just missed. Replays showed that Julian Speroni had made a world class reflex save.

From the resulting corner, Dean Moxey cleared a header off the line – and that was that for Brighton.

Moments later a raking cross-field ball from Mile Jedinak was brilliantly controlled by Yannick Bolasie. The Palace winger teased Calderon before crossing to the back post. Wayne Bridge appeared to be admiring Yala’s play as Zaha (69) crept in front of the former England man to head home in front of the Palace fans.

We expected Brighton to lay siege to our goal. By the time they had their next shot on target – it was already too late.

Two minutes from time, Kagisho Dikgacoi played the ball into Zaha just inside the penalty area. Zaha (88) held off Greer, turned and smashed in a left-footed shot off the underside of the crossbar – “Zaha, OH YES!

“Que Sera Sera!” belted out from the away end as the home fans abandoned their team in droves. Small children cried in the home end. Grown men in jester hats covered their faces with the clappers that were provided for them on the night – “You stupid wankers, we clap with our hands!”

It was one of the great Crystal Palace nights – it was the night that Palace won the M23 rivalry for good.

Wednesday 13th May 2015

Scott Dann scoops the Crystal Palace Player of the Year award at Fairfield Halls in Croydon. Mile Jedinak wins the goal of the season award for his free kick against Liverpool.

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