Palace 2-2 B'Pool
Blackpool scored a late equaliser to prevent a fifth win on the bounce for Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park. An archetypal game of two halves was played with the Seasiders bossing the first half only to be penned back in the second by resurgent Palace.
The game was treated like a derby by Blackpool and the late Dicko equaliser led to some ridiculous behaviour from Blackpool. The goalscorer himself ran the length of the field, whipped his shirt off and jumped into the away end whilst on the bench an unnamed member of the Blackpool coaching staff tried to stare out Ian Holloway.
"I didn't like it at all. I didn't do that to them when we scored," Holloway said. "It was one of their new guys, not Michael [Appleton]. But he didn't stare me out. No one can stare me out."
Holloway’s former employers may have drawn the battle but our boss know that he has tools more capable of winning the war in SE25 than they do up north on the windy coast.
Many people after the game expressed the belief that this was a fair result on the balance of play. To this I say, poppycock. Yes Blackpool dominated the first half, however, good chances were at a premium for Appleton’s team and they scored their only two good chances of the game, both of which were aided by some dubious defending by the Palace full backs.
Deflouneso’s opener came from a cross to the back stick that Blake should have comfortably dealt with. On the replays you can see the disappointment in his face that he hasn’t attempted to make contact with the ball, allowing the Villa loanee to sneak in behind him to head home.
The Blackpool equaliser simply does not occur if Jonny Parr puts his foot through that ball as opposed to trying to play his way out of trouble. I have no problem with our defence playing their way out, it has proved very successful so far this season, however, in the dying moments of the game you put your foot through the ball and get it clear.
That was it for Blackpool. For all of their first half dominance they just did not create any chances of note.
On the flipside, even in the first half when we were very poor we created the best chance of the half. Zaha beat his man and elected to shoot. Gilks made a great save to keep out the England winger, however, this exact sort of scenario has led to Palace fans suggesting that Zaha has actually regressed since his stint with the England team. Just like at Hull, where he neglected to square to Wilbraham and saw his shot saved, Murray was completely unmarked in the six yard box and if Wilf looks for him then we go 1-0 up and the game changes completely.
Has Wilf regressed? He is eleven games without a goal and has probably lacked anything that can be described as even a good performance since he singlehandedly tore Blackburn Rovers apart at Selhurst. Dips in form have not been unusual occurrences for Zaha throughout his career so ‘regressed’ is a very strong word. Form is temporary, class is permanent etc... The good thing about the dip in form is that Premier League managers may be a little more wary about splashing the big bucks until sustained consistency exists in his game.
Back to the game and now we move on to the chances that we created in the second half. First we have Garvan’s leveler and yet another assist for Yannick Bolasie. After destroying Brighton last week, the buy of the season picked up a cross from Zaha that missed all and curled a pinpoint cross to the head of the Irishman, who made no mistakes with his header back across goal.
Garvan then turned provider as his crossed from the left was powerfully headed into the bottom corner by Glenn Murray, for his 18th goal of the season and surely the Palace winner?
Then came a moment of complete magic from Yannick Bolasie. He picked the ball up half way in our half and embarked on a mesmerising run. He left Crainey for dead with a move inside before using his pace to breeze past Angel. He then nutmegs Cathcart and bursts into the area before slipping the ball across goal, through Broadfoot’s legs for good measure, to Murray who is thwarted by the brilliant Gilks.
Much like Blackpool in the first half we were then guilty of wasting several good positions before Dicko stole in at the last to earn a point for Holloway’s former team.
For the first time in some weeks our defence let us down and we did not take the chances that we usually do. Despite this below par performance, we were still the better side and came within a whisker of beating one of the better teams in the division. Not a bad place to be in.
This doesn’t take away from the disappointment of conceding a last minute equaliser. I was positively grumpy for a good hour after the game when thinking about the daylight that could have existed between us and third place after Leicester failed to beat Barnsley at home.
Hopefully we will learn from the mistakes that we have made in this game and will use the experience throughout the rest of this, still very long, season.
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
Yet another outstanding performance from the bargain from Bristol. His directness, coupled with his fantastic delivery is makes him as dangerous a player as any other in the Championship and it is just laughable that a team languishing in 21st place will let him go so easily.
The only thing surprising about his sixth assist of the season is that it is matched by Garvan, also creating his sixth goal of the season. Owen was very close to the man of the match award and will undoubtedly have been other people’s choice but Bolasie’s run in the second half just stole the show for me.
To have two players in the team with such great delivery is a joy to behold.
Not much to talk about here. Naturally there was a tonne of noise in and around our two goals and the chorus of “Yannick Bolasie” after his run and cross was deafening, however, the atmosphere in the first half was disappointing at a time when the boys needed the vocal support.
We now have two very important games against Birmingham and Huddersfield, important in the sense that they are games that we should be looking to win, especially when our following game is a Boxing Day visit to top of the table Cardiff City. No easy game in the Championship.
Come on you Eagles.