Palace 3-0 Brighton
Crystal Palace dished out yet another footballing lesson to Brighton to climb back to the top if the Championship, a full nine points clear of the Weed. The result was never in doubt after Lewis Dunk saw red for bringing down the phenomenal Yannick Bolasie when clean through on goal.
Palace were, as described by Ian Holloway, "professional" in their dismantling of Poyet's team. Murray scored his second and third goals, in two starts, against his former team and took his tally for the season to seventeen goals. His first a towering header from a corner, his second from the spot after a great run from Bolasie put the red hot striker in on goal only for him to be felled by the Brighton stopper. Murray was then fouled again in the penalty area, this time by the Brighton skipper, and looked set to complete his hat trick. However, his two penalty misses this season have both come when looking for his third goal and he elected to give the ball to Owen Garvan who made no mistake from twelve yards.
Brighton fans will talk about the ref, penalties, red cards and anything else that will keep them sane as they try to come to terms with being hammered yet again by the superior half of the rivalry. The fact of the matter is that every key decision the referee made was correct. The red card was a red card, the penalties were penalties, end of.
Regardless of the man disadvantage, they can have no excuses for their awful passing, awful touch and on the only occasion that they did manage to get near our goal, a man who cost more than our entire squad, Craig Mackail-Smith, managed to miss his big opportunity. “Embarrassing #BHAFC, Embarrassing” sums them up and that quote is a tweet from the North Stand Chat Twitter account.
Their ‘big name’ players bottled it whilst our shined. Before Dunk was dismissed we were causing them problems all over the pitch and it soon became clear that no one was going to be able to live with Yala Bolasie in this match, Murray continued where he left off before his suspension and Mile Jedinak dominated the centre of the park yet again. This is without even mentioning our biggest name, who had the beating of every player in a ghastly green and black shirt and ran rings around them for ninety minutes.
The only problem with Brighton being so terrible was that it completely took away from the atmosphere. We clearly learned our lesson in the game against Nottingham Forest at Selhurst when they went down to ten men and we failed to kill them off, sacrificing two points in the process. It took us one kick after Dunk’s dismissal to put them on the back foot as Garvan rattled the crossbar from the resulting free kick. It was clear from that point that we were going to win this game comfortably.
The un-competitive nature of the game took away all the usual focus that exists in the stands as everyone and his wife wanted to start a song thus destroying all cohesion. However, what we were lacking in great singing atmosphere, we were making up for it with just sheer joy in the stands. Everyone smiling, everyone happy. A great day, made better from the money I won on Murray scoring first and at anytime.
We are now twenty games into the season, almost halfway, and, after Cardiff’s win today, sit second in the table, a full four points clear of third place. We have shown character to come back from defeat at Leeds by picking up a great draw at Hull and now by beating our main rivals. In my mind, we have now passed all of the tests of whether we are the real deal or not. We are the best team I have seen this season and can only see promotion come the end of the season.
Man of the Match: Yannick Bolasie
What a performance. He was involved in everything that contributed to the downfall of the Weed. He got Dunk sent off with his sharpness and pace. He crossed the ball for Glenn Murray to nod home the first. He went on a mazey run to enable Murray to win the first penalty and he crossed the ball to Murray for the second penalty. He tore them a proverbial new one, again putting paid to the idea that we are a one man team. The only thing missing was a goal.
I will never forget his little dance in front of the Holmesdale as he showboated his way around yet another hapless Brighton defender. “We’re Crystal Palace, we’re taking the piss.”
As I have already said, the atmosphere was a strange one inside the ground. The atmosphere outside the ground was what was to be expected. There were arseholes everywhere, from both teams, looking for trouble. Outside the entrance at the top of the Holmesdale as I was waiting to get in I experienced some trouble first hand. Around fifteen Brighton fans strolled up from the bottom of the Holmesdale and tried to start on an old man queuing to get in. “Fucking come on you Groupon wanker” he screamed in this old man’s face. I didn’t feel very sorry for that man when another Palace fan weighed in a landed a glorious right hook. The police horses waded in and everyone just got on with it. Only on derby day.
Blackpool up next. Will be very interesting to see how the Blackpool fans respond to Holloway.
I will leave you with this. Brighton fans, mouth off about Groupon vouchers all you like, the fact is we are nine points clear of you and just spanked you yet again. We scored three, they score none...