Back in the Day: March 19th - Palace Book Place at Wembley in 1991

Back in the Day

Wednesday 19th March 1969

Crystal Palace 4-2 Millwall

League Division Two – Att: 32,516

Manager: Bert Head

Going into this match the Glaziers trialled league leaders Derby County by 7 points, but with two games in hand. A win against local rivals Millwall was vital if Bert Head’s men had aspirations to win the league. Over thirty-two thousand people turned up to see if Palace could close the gap, and they did not leave disappointed.

Millwall were only six points behind Derby going into this and sat just above Palace in fourth place having played two games more. A Derek Possee, who would later play for Palace, strike and a John McCormick own goal saw the Lions make a fist of it but Palace were too strong on the day. Colin Taylor, McCormick at the right end of the pitch and a Bobby Woodruff brace meant that Palace would finish the day in second, leapfrogging Millwall, Middlesbrough and Cardiff City.

Saturday 19th March 1983

Crystal Palace 0-0 Chelsea

League Division Two – Att: 13,351

Manager: Alan Mullery

Tuesday 19th March 1991

Crystal Palace 2-0 Norwich City

3-1 on Aggregate

Zenith Data Systems Area Final 2nd Leg – Att: 13,857

Manager: Steve Coppell

After picking up a 1-1 draw away at Carrow Road in the first leg two weeks earlier, Palace fancied their chances of a trip to Wembley as the Canaries came to Selhurst for the second leg.

It took just sixteen minutes for the hosts to take the lead. Bryan Gunn came sliding out on the wide edge of his area yet could not hold the ball. Alan Pardew picked up the scraps and curled in the perfect cross for Ian Wright to head into an empty net.

On the hour Pardew assisted his second goal of the match. The future Palace manager embarrassed John Polston down the right before putting in a devilish cross that Mark Bright flicked home at the near post.

Que sera, sera…

Tuesday 19th March 1996

Crystal Palace 2-0 Luton Town

League Division One – Att: 14,703

Manager: Dave Bassett

This game was initially scheduled for Boxing Day (and would have been my first ever match at Selhurst Park if it had not been) but a frozen pitch saw it postponed until March.

The Hatters were battling against relegation and put in a stoic effort on the night before substitute Bruce Dyer broke their hearts in the 82nd minute. David Tuttle helped on a long David Hopkin throw with an overhead kick and Bruce Dyer poked home from close range after a deflection off a defender.

The second came six minutes later. Ray Houghton fed Dyer, who found Hopkin out wide and the Scots cross found Dyer who clumsily tapped home from close range. Palace had made the most of their game in hand and moved to within four points of second placed Derby County (sounds familiar).

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