Barnsley 1-1 Palace
October 23rd 2012 was never meant to be our day. The Crystal Palace rollercoaster took an unexpected dip throughout the day, culminating with the departure of manager Dougie Freedman, but looked set to climb again as a solitary Murray strike had the Eagles leading into the final five minutes only for Barnsley to ruin the brave performance put on by Palace players and fans alike.
469 Palace fans braved the always cold Yorkshire on a Tuesday night, for the second season running, and came within a whisker of witnessing the first Palace win at Oakwell since 01/02 (yet another Tuesday night!) but a stray Garvan pass allowed Perkins to curl home a beauty from twenty yards, earning his side, arguably, a deserved point.
Seemingly unperturbed by the events of the day, and the absence of Zaha and Williams, Palace run Barnsley ragged in the opening twenty minutes and it was only a matter of time before we opened the scoring. The ball was worked wide and a gallivanting Jonny Parr laid the goal on a plate for Glenn Murray with a low cross into the six yard box, our 8th goal from inside the six yard box this season. We barely scored eight goals in the entirety of last season let alone from eight from inside six yards.
Let’s digress a little.&Whilst being the easiest chances to finish, scoring tap ins from within six yards are often the hardest chances to create. To have done this so many times already this season pays testament to how good a team we are, especially out wide.
Back to the game and Murray, Bolasie and Moritz all forced Alnwick into saves soon after the goal before Keith Hill showed why we were linked with him back in January 2011 and now in October 2012. He saw the dangers that we were posing over and over and had the guts to make a change as early as the 19th minute, bringing on none other than Matt Done, the player that Freedman coveted before our capture of Yannick Bolasie. The extra width forced us onto the back foot, however, we did manage to successfully employ the counter attack.
The game continued as so, with KG almost killing the game off with a cross come shot cannoning off the inside of the post and staying the wrong side of the line, before Perkins snatched his side a point. Lennie Lawrence summed the equaliser up well. "If anybody but Perkins is involved at that little bit of play at the end then we win," said Lawrence.
"Only he on their team could have possibly done what he done. Nobody else could have done that for them... We're disappointed but we can't fault the players because they did everything that was possible. It was just a bit of opportunism and a bit of quality that salvaged his team a point."
I have no doubt that we win this game comfortably with Zaha or Williams on the field. The fact that we still put in a performance that came so close to winning without two of our best players is a credit to the lads, especially considering the circumstances of the day.
The players, through twitter, made it clear at the end of the game that how much the appreciated the excellent support that the travelling fans offered.
Andre Moritz: Thanks for all the support and fans who had been in Barnsley... We as players appreciate that, another point and now headin back to London
Yannick Bolasie: Another point on the board another hard shift done fans were ledge again thanx every1 #cpfc on2thenext
Darcy Blake: Fans were awsum 2night aswel on a shitty night at Barnsley turned up and kept tha support strong #welldone
Ramage: Stick with us. You've been unbelievable. A Tuesday night with a five hour journey to Barnsley & the same back. Dedication. The players and staff appreciate all your time and effort and hard-earned money that you've spent to come and watch us. Without you, we wouldn't be able to go out and put on a performance like we did against Barnsley.
Knowing that our efforts are appreciated by the players always makes the travelling and 3 am home times worthwhile.
Man of the Match: Jonny Parr
Finally, a performance from our Player of the Year. He looked solid defensively and often terrorised Barnsley when charging forwards. A 11/12 season Jonny Parr will make us even better than we have been.
Brilliant if not strangely tense at points. Is it ok to abuse Dougie, is it not? Should we even mention him? Do we sing Lennie Lawrence’s name or is he off also? In the end we all settled on “South London’s Red n Blue Army” and it was strangely moving to sing.
It will be very interesting to see what the atmosphere we be like at Selhurst Park come the next home game...
Before then, however, it is Palace on Tour 3 for our visit to Leicester. Lets turn up in numbers and give the players the kind of support that they rave about in a time that they need it more than most.