Back in the Day: February 26th - Ade Akinbiyi Scores a Goal!
Saturday 26th February 1983
Oldham Athletic 2-0 Crystal Palace
League Division Two – Att: 9,915
Manager: Alan Mullery
Tuesday 26th February 1991
Crystal Palace 3-1 Luton Town
Zenith Data Systems Cup – Att: 7,170
Manager: Steve Coppell
Eddie McGoldrick got Palace off to the best possible start after just three minutes with his first ever goal for Palace at Selhurst Park. The moustached maestro beautifully controlled a lofted Andy Gray through ball on his chest and fired low into the far corner.
With 23 points separating third placed Palace and fifteenth placed Luton in the league, one could be forgiven for thinking that the hosts would run away with the match. Instead, the Hatters mustered up and equaliser thirteen minutes later through Jason Rees. Completely unmarked at the back post, Rees climbed to nod past Nigel Martyn and in off the underside of the crossbar.
The Palace second came five minutes for the break and in slightly controversial circumstances. Gray burst away in the middle of the park where Julian James tried to block his run. The visiting full-back came off worse in the exchange, with Gray looking over his prone body on the ground, and had to be substituted. But this was not before Geoff Thomas (I think – it is hard to tell from the footage – you’ll see what I mean when you watch it – if not Geoff then it would have been John Humphrey) picked up the ball on the overlap and crossed for Ian Wright to score.
The hosts then missed a host of chances before Wright finally put the game to bed two minutes from time. John Salako raced away down the left and lifted the ball into the penalty area where Wright, in turn, lifted the ball over the out-rushing Alec Chamberlain. Palace were into the Area Final where they would face Norwich City.
Palace Links: Iain Dowie played for the opposition in this match.
Thursday 26th February 1998
The deal for Mark Goldberg to buy the Club had been sealed the day before, and the press were announcing that Terry Venables would be making a return to the Club as manager. To the outside world this seemed impressive, internally Palace fans had mixed feelings about the return of the man that deserted the Club some 17 years earlier.
Now this is where it gets depressing…
Friday 26th February 1999
Just one year to the day later and the players and staff of Crystal Palace Football Club do not receive their wages. Goldberg claims that he will pay them all from his own pocket the following week.
Somehere in a Mobile Phone shop, Simon Jordan’s ears were pricking up.
Saturday 26th February 2000
Grimsby Town 1-0 Crystal Palace
League Division One – Att: 5,421
Manager: Steve Coppell
With the Club debt-ridden (see above) Sir Steve had to turn to the loan market to try and keep Palace in the division. While losing 1-0 away at Grimsby, to a David Smith penalty on the stroke of half-time, was not an ideal result, it did signal the debut of two loan players that would prove key for Palace in the coming months.
Mikael Forssell arrived from Chelsea and Ashley Cole from Arsenal.
Tuesday 26th February 2002
Barnsley 1-4 Crystal Palace
League Division One – Att: 11,207
Manager: Trevor Francis
Ah, Tuesday night away trips to Barnsley. If I had known at this point the number of drab goalless draws and 1-0 defeats that would follow at Oakwell in midweek matches, I would have enjoyed this more than I did – golf ball sized hailstones and all.
Just before the half hour, Julian Gray twisted and turned his way down the left and cross perfectly for Dougie Freedman to thump his header past former Palace keeper Kevin Miller in the Barnsley goal, but the lead would not last until half time. Four minutes before the break another former Palace man in Bruce Dyer, on the cover of the Match Day programme, volleyed home the equaliser from what must have been an offside position (I joke, he was definitely onside). To be fair, his celebrations were subdued.
Despite a tight first half, when the teams emerged for the second half, there was only one team in it. With eleven minutes played of the second period, Clinton Morrison took a quick free kick and headed the resulting cross towards goal, and his effort caused havoc. A defender nearly put past Miller, but the pie eating stopper managed to save the ball, only for Aki Riihilahti to stab home on the goal line.
Then, for the few that made it, the Palace fans were treated to a collector’s item – an Ade Akinbiyi goal. Morrison was everywhere and linked play expertly, releasing Gray down the flank. His cross found the (then) Palace record signing completely unmarked, five yards out and in the middle of the goal. The Palace number 5(+)5 tried his best to miss with a tame downwards header, but do not forget that Kevin Miller was in goal. The Barnsley stopper fell to the ground, and the ball just cleared his hand and found the net. Nothing more says “I am robbing a living and I know it” than an Ade Akinbiyi goal celebration – even he couldn’t believe he’d managed to score.
Then moments later the travelling support were delirious when Gray got a deserved goal to complete the rout.
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