Palace 1-1 Forest
Two words. Daylight robbery! Robin Hood, a Nottingham legend, stole from the rich to give to the poor. This was more of a case of stealing from the poor and giving to the rich. Unbeaten and one of the richest clubs in the land, it seems somewhat unfair that Forest should get away with a point, but that’s football, I guess.
Crystal Palace passed, yes passed, Forest off the pitch last night. A team that is unbeaten, and will be in the mix at the end of the season, were chasing shadows at Selhurst Park last night. Nottingham Forest should be renamed Amazon Forest on the grounds that they looked like they were lost in it.
However, if you switch off for a moment against a team that has the likes of Billy Sharpe, Simon Cox and Dexter Blackstock competing for places up front, you will get punished and that was exactly what happened. A long punt down field and one soft challenge later and before you could say Maid Marian is a dirty whore, it was 1-1.
If it was not for Julian Speroni, things could have been a whole heap worse. Moments after the goal, a long throw into our box, Stoke style, was met with a header that produced the very best out of the Argentinean, flying away to his right to parry the ball away. Camp, at the other end, was not to be undone by his opposite number making a superb reflex stop to deny a last gasp Peter Ramage winner.
In reality, the game should have been dead and buried long before Blackstock poked the ball under Julian Speroni with Delaney hitting the post and Zaha and Bolasie both guilty of missing good chances. The Nottingham Forest fans I spoke to in The Victory after the game summed it up perfectly, “We were murdered and are not sure how we got away with a point.” The fact that they went on to say that “Palace are the best team by far that they have seen this season” and “we love coming to Palace because of this bar (the Victory) so don’t get promoted” is a huge testament to the team that Freedman has built.
I have already gone into why we are now a much better attacking unit (read the Sheffield Wednesday match report after this for detailed analysis) so I don’t need to go into the specifics again. All that needs to be said is that watching us flow forward was a joy to watch. Zaha was unplayable, Williams is a genius and Owen Garvan and KG are like new signings. Championship beware, one of your teams is in for an absolute hiding this year.
Summing up the evening in one word would not be just for the simple reason that most would plump for the word “Frustrating”, however, if watching my team pass the ball better than I have seen them do in years is frustrating, then I may as well just give up now. Yes, not winning the game is frustrating after Forest have gone down to ten men but the performance was so pleasing that, just this once, I will let the frustration float away and focus on the all around brilliant performance.
Post match last night Dougie Freedman said, "I need everyone to believe in us. We are a good team." After that performance he might just have a few more believers.
Man of the Match: Kagisho Dikgacoi
Picking a man of the match at the moment is not an easy task. So many players are performing so well that opinion is likely to be split amongst all the people who viewed the match. Dikgacoi, Zaha, Jedinak, Ward and Ramage could all be considered for Man of the Match last night but I am going for KG.
Four goals in six starts this season is making him impossible to ignore and makes the groans that all Palace fans uttered, me included, when they saw his name on the team sheet at Charlton (KG replaced Moritz) seem laughable. He is simply no longer the fat Sunday league player that plodded around in our midfield last season. The weight has gone, he is looking lean, hungry (not in a pie way) and teams are struggling to handle him.
I never thought that I would hear “KG is a goal machine” roaring out of the Holmesdale.
Thankfully his injury is a mere concussion and should only see him miss the Cardiff game on Saturday. Well played Kagisho Dikgacoi (not Dik-ga-choi but Dik-gash-wee... hold off on the crude jokes please).
Another great effort from all in attendance last night. I would love to see what we could actually do with a full Selhurst Park these days as with just 12,000 or so Palace fans in attendance last night we made enough noise to keep people on the other side of Thornton Heath station up late.
Charlton away did wonders for the “CPFC” song (same tune as the EPPP song from last season) as it got extremely loud at points along with the classics “We’re the Red N Blue Army” and “Dougie Freedman’s Red N Blue Army” and, of course, the “We Love You” after the goal was as deafening as ever.
There was a little bit of humor last night as well as a man, who can only be described as a genius, put a beautiful spin on the chant “Get your tits out for the lads”, changing it to “Get Moritz out for the lads” and drawing laughs from all in the process.
All that was missing was the fireworks show!
A call to everyone reading this. Make the fair-weather Palace fans you know come on Saturday. Let them know we are good! Let them know that the boring days have gone and that exciting free flowing attacking days are here. Let them know that Zaha is worth the admission fee alone and let them know that they will get to see Craig Bellamy looking he has just chewed a wasp as we inevitably wipe the floor with his beloved Cardiff.