Back in the Day: May 14th - Crystal Palace 3-2 Sunderland 2004
Saturday 14th May 1983
Sheffield Wednesday 2-1 Crystal Palace
League Division Two – Att: 11,372
Manager: Alan Mullery
Wednesday 14th May 1997
Wolves 2-1 Crystal Palace
3-4 on Aggregate
League Division One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg – Att: 26,403
Manager: Steve Coppell
After the hectic 3-1 win in the first leg at Selhurst Park, Steve Coppell’s men travelled to Molineux knowing that one goal would give the hosts a mountain to climb.
The hosts dominated the opening of the match and finally got the breakthrough on the half hour. Former Palace captain Geoff Thomas split the defence with a quite incredible through ball, and Mark Adkins finished under Carlo Nash. The noise from the home support was deafening, and it was going to take some serious character for the Eagles to hold on.
Hold on they did until halfway through the second half and, out of the blue, David Hopkin (66) scored the vital away goal. Simon Rodger blocked a pass in the centre of the pitch, and the ball spooned in the direction of the Wolves goal. Hopkin beat his man to the ball forty yards from goal and was suddenly through. The Scot did not have to take another touch until he fired home, left-footed, from the edge of the penalty area.
Of course, Palace never do things the easy way. With five minutes left, the referee awarded Wolves with a soft free kick on the by-line edge of the penalty area. Adie Williams (85) promptly headed home at the back stick to set up a tense finale.
There would be no fairytale comeback for the hosts and Crystal Palace were going back to Wembley for the second season running.
After the match, the Palace fans were kept behind in the stadium for 45 minutes to let the angry Wolves disperse. The singing in the concourse area was loud and proud. What a night.
Be prepared for the worst commentary ever.
Friday 14th May 2004
Crystal Palace 3-2 Sunderland
League Division One Play-Off Semi Final 1st Leg – Att: 25,287
Manager: Iain Dowie
Sunderland had finished six points ahead of the Eagles in the regular season, but all slates were whipped clean for this two-legged Semi Final. The match itself could barely have had two more contrasting halves of football. The first, almost completely devoid of incident. The second, a barnstormer with five goals, pitch invasions and one incredible atmosphere.
Both teams missed decent chances before disaster struck for Palace just six minutes into the second period. Tony Popovic felled Carl Robinson in the box, clearly winning the ball first, but the referee pointed to the spot, and Marcus Stewart (51) made no mistakes.
The crowd were angry, the players were angry, and the response was brutal. Just a minute later, Neil Shipperley (52) looped a quite brilliant header over Mart Poom to keep Selhurst rocking.
12 minutes later the game was turned on its head. Shipperley won a free kick from Gary Breen, and Michael Hughes laid the ball off to Danny Butterfield. Having not scored for years, the full-back let fly with a speculative effort from 35 yards, but it looked to be harmless. One deflection and some poor goalkeeping later and the ball in the corner of the net. Today, the goal would definitely be awarded as a Phil Babb own goal.
Sunderland searched for an equaliser and future Eagles, John Oster, clipped the outside of the post and Robinson missed from close range when looking unsure what to do with a cross.
The game moved into the last 10 minutes, and the Mackems eventually found an equaliser. Julian Gray fouled Tommy Smith on the Palace left, and the defending of the free kick was shocking. The ball eventually bounced to Kevin Kyle who smashed home from seven yards. Sunderland fans came on to the pitch in celebration – they were premature.
Five minutes later Andy Johnson (87) was released down the left. He drove towards goal before cutting inside on the edge of the area and shooting for goal. His effort was far from his best but Poom made a hash of it and allowed it to slip under his hands and into the goal for AJ’s 32nd of the season.
Johnson almost added a fourth and Palace weathered some injury time pressure, but as the full-time whistle sounded, a handful of both sets of fans were on the pitch. Punches were thrown, and this made for a very heated second leg.
Sunday 14th May 2017
Premier League - Att: 25,176
Manager: Sam Allardyce
Hull travelled to Selhurst Park knowing that only a win would give them a realistic chance of survival. Palace only needed to avoid defeat against Marco Silva's Tigers to ensure a fifth consecutive season in the Premier League.
The tension in the stadium could be cut with a knife until all worries evaporated within three minutes of the start when Wilfried Zaha raced away after a comical error from Andrea Ranocchia to score his seventh goal of the season. From that point on it was a party as Palace blew struggling Hull away.
Christian Benteke headed home his 15th goal of the season on 34 minutes, before a Luka Milivojevic penalty (85) and a Patrick van Aanholt (90) strike put the game to bed late on.
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