Back in the Day: May 15th - Two Contrasting Days Against Charlton
Wednesday 15th May 1996
Crystal Palace 1-0 Charlton Athletic
3-1 on Aggregate
League Division One Play-Off Semi Final 2nd Leg – Att: 22,880
Manager: Dave Bassett
Palace and Charlton returned to Selhurst Park for the second leg with the Eagles holding the all-important two away goals. Kenny Brown and Carl Veart had cancelled out the first minute Shaun Newton goal – but it would be Palace who would score early in this one and effectively end the tie.
George Ndah hooked a Charlton corner clear and Dougie Freedman plucked it out of the sky and held it up. Ndah had not sat and admired his clearance and Freedman released him through the middle. Ray Houghton had also busted a gut to get forward on the outside and Ndah looked to pass to the Irishman. Thankfully the defender blocked the pass, otherwise, Houghton would have been offside, and the ball bounced kindly for Ndah to continue his run.
Palace would then receive a second piece of luck. Richard Rufus put in a great tackle on Ndah but the ball squirmed to Houghton. From just inside the penalty area, Houghton let fly with the outside of the boot and the ball curled perfectly into the top corner. The moment got the best of him and his celebration was teary-eyed.
The visitors really threatened and Palace held on to confirm their place at Wembley – where they would face Leicester City.
Sunday 15th May 2005
Charlton Athletic 2-2 Crystal Palace
Premier League – Att: 26,870
Manager: Iain Dowie
Crystal Palace went into the final match of the season knowing that only a win would give them any hope of consecutive Premier League seasons for the first time. Charlton were winless in eight games and on the beach leading up to this one – they returned for this one. This was not just because of the hatred that their fans harbour for Crystal Palace. Simon Jordon had pissed off the Charlton board throughout the season and the order from on high at the Valley was to relegate Palace or else.
Bryan Hughes (30) gave the hosts the lead on the half hour and this is how it would stay until half-time. It was looking grim for Palace. Norwich were 2-0 down at Fulham on their way to a 6-0 thumping. Southampton had taken the lead against Manchester United, but Darren Fletcher had equalised. West Brom and Portsmouth was goalless at the break.
Dougie Freedman replaced Danny Butterfield and this changed the match in Palace’s favour. On 58 minutes the Scot raced clear and lifted his shot over the outrushing goalkeeper. At almost the exact same moment another substitute was changing the game at The Hawthorns. Geoff Horsfield gave the hosts the lead and the Baggies would find a second goal, meaning that Palace would need to find a winner and hope that United could do the same.
On 63 minutes United obliged through Ruud Van Nistelrooy and eight minutes after that a hump downfield from Gabor Kiraly was misjudged by Talal El Karkouri and Freedman was in behind again. This time he tried to square to Andy Johnson but the backtracking El Karkouri handled and the referee pointed to the spot. Johnson made no mistakes and scored his 21st goal of the season. Palace were heading to safety as things stood.
Eight minutes from time, disaster struck. Mikele Leigertwood was a bit too keen to get to the ball on the right-hand side and gave away a free kick. Jon Fortune headed home the resulting free-kick and Palace were back in the relegation zone.
With just seconds left on the clock, Dougie Freedman smashed a volley at goal but Dean Bloody Kiely got down low to spectacularly deny him and Palace survival.
“Charlton sent the Palace down” sang the home fans to the away fans – the Palace faithful has since made that song their own.
Saturday 15th May 2010
Julian Speroni is named Crystal Palace Player of the Year for the third time as Nathaniel Clyne takes the Young Player award.
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