Palace 3-2 Cardiff
What a game, what an atmosphere and what a performance! From minute one to minute ninety-five, Palace dominated one of the favourites for promotion. Despite falling two goals behind, the Eagles never wavered and systematically destroyed the Bluebirds in the second half with relentless attack.
Murray claims the headlines, banging in the first Crystal Palace hat-trick since James Vaughan (almost two years ago to the day), but I am sure that even Glenn will happily concede that it was an all around team performance, backed by the crowd, that bought about this result.
Many Palace fans have complimented Cardiff manager, Mackay, on his post match press conference and the fact that he did not comment on the dubious nature of both penalties (for the record, I think that they were both definitely penalties), however, I completely disagree with his entire post match ramble.
“We committed suicide”... incorrect, we murdered you.
“We were two nil up and playing well”... incorrect, we were dominating and you got a couple of lucky bounces from your hoof ball tactics.
If he honestly watched that first half and believed that his team were playing well, then I would be worried if I was a Cardiff fan. All they had was a long ball to the head of Helguson and they were the recipients of poor defending twice (almost three times when factoring in the Bellamy miss) for their two goals. Jedinak shut down Whittingham and Parr shut down Bellamy. All they had in response was a long punt and, after a dodgy first twenty, we handled that well and that was all she wrote for Cardiff.
As for the boys in Red N Blue, they ran riot. The movement of Zaha, Bolasie, Moritz and KG had them running around in circles and it just got worse for them when Williams came on.
The truth of the matter is 3-2 completely flattered Cardiff. If it was not for McNaughton (who I rate ever so highly) the score would have been approaching seven or eight and they would not have been able to argue in the slightest.
KG almost scored for the third game running, only to be denied by a great save from Marshall in the Bluebirds goal. Murray and Moritz both had goal bound efforts superbly blocked and Marshall was again at his best to deny Zaha and this was all in the first half. The second half just got ridiculous. The three goals aside, at 1-2 Marshall was forced into another great save by Murray and Blake flicked a header across the face of the goal that just missed the far post. At 2-2 Moritz tried to beat a man in the box when a simple sideways pass would have seen Murray score his hat-trick earlier than he did. Then, at 3-2, KG and Zaha both went very close. And that is just what I can remember!
We now have to ask the question once again, how good are we?
Since the signings of Bolasie, Moritz and Delaney we have become a very good team at this level. We, arguably, have the best midfield in the division that will create goals for whoever is up front. At the back we have two great centre backs at this level to return (McCarthy & Gabbidon) and the Ward that we thought we had signed from Portsmouth has finally turned up at Selhurst Park, meaning that we can only get better in defence.
In the last five days we have taken four points from two of the big spenders in this division and but for defensive errors, we would have taken six points, beating them both to nil. Further, looking at the season so far and our league position is, arguably again, somewhat false. Two minutes away from taking three points against Watford and three fantastic saves away from getting a point a Middlesbrough. It was only Bristol City where we deserved nothing, but again defensive mistake were to blame.
All in all, taking the Forest, Boro and Watford games into account, we could have six more points and be sitting pretty at the top of the Championship. Rather shockingly, the evidence points to us being the real deal even if our psyches aren’t accepting the fact, yet.
Going into the Forest and Cardiff games, many were considering them to be games that would show us where we really are as a team. The outcome is that we have shown that we can certainly live with the better sides in the division, at Selhurst Park.
The next two games will basically tell us if we can mount a promotion challenge this season. Two away games against two of the relegated Premier League teams in short succession will offer a fantastic test of our team’s ability and also Freedman’s balls. Will he trust our attacking play or will he revert back to negative tactics in fear of some of the division’s ‘big boys’? In ten days times we will know.
Man of the Match: Glenn Murray
Could it be anyone else?
Bolasie, Zaha, Moritz and Jedinak all deserve honourable mentions as they were certainly key in this victory, however, Glenn Murray showed his class and took his goal tally to five for the season... for those that are counting, that is only two less than he managed in the entire 2011/12 season.
What I mean by Murray showing his class is this. The second penalty saw him have to wait for a full minute before he was given the chance to take it. He had already taken one, so mind games are in play and the Cardiff players are doing their best to delay the kick for as long as possible. Unperturbed, Murray strolls up and hits the ball down the middle and the victory is sealed.
Two penalties in one game with the second going down the middle... sound familiar? Andy Johnson tactic if ever I saw one.
For those that do not know what this is about, it is simple really. The new Cardiff owners invested only on the grounds that they could remarket the club. They changed their colour from blue to red, changed the club crest and relegated the Bluebird to the bottom of the crest, sitting there almost as an afterthought.
Naturally, the Holmesdale Fanatics hate this and have done what the Cardiff fans haven’t had the guts to do and thrown up a banner castigating the new owners of Cardiff City and the ‘fans’ who have bought into the idea in return for the promise land of the Premier League. Corporate sell outs indeed.
Can we have our ball back, please?
Oh it was perfect!
At 0-2 the ball was cleared into the Cardiff fans and the ball did not come back. It got thrown all around the stand in an attempt to see the game through to half time. Inevitably, as soon as another ball came on to the pitch and the game restarted, a Cardiff fan attempted to throw the ball back onto the field only to hit one of the pylons in the stand.
Fast forward to the 75th minute and the ball is cleared into Block B of the Holmesdale and we repeat the act. The ball is thrown all over and as soon as the Cardiff keeper takes his goal kick, the ball is thrown back onto the field.
It gets better! With injury time running down, the ball ends up in the Cardiff fans again and this time a fan picks up the ball, charges to the front of the stand and waits there to give the ball to Jonny Parr, who is moving towards the sideline at a speed comparable to that of a stoned snail.
After countless shouts of “Wanker” at the bloke waiting to give the ball back to Parr, a huge chant of “Eng-er-land” fills the stadium.
God I love football!
At the start of the game, despite the attendance being half of what it was that night, the atmosphere reminded me a lot of the League Cup Semi Final first leg. “Red n Blue Army” was deafening for the opening five minutes with the entire stadium joining in, completely mirroring the cup semi.
As you would expect from a game with such a dramatic turnaround, the atmosphere in the second half was unbelievable with the “We Love You” chants after the goals getting the entire stadium bouncing and the “CPFC” chant also following suit, urged on by a megaphone sporting Holmesdale Fanatic.
However, it is the atmosphere in the first half that most impressed me (and Cardiff fans, as you will see in a moment). We fell two goals down yet the Palace fans did not skip a beat. Sure, there was frustration at times from the fans on the occasions that we gave the ball away, but these were not frustrations that we negative, it was frustration born out of knowing that we can do better.
At half time all of the talk was about how we were not out of the game and that we could still get a point and maybe even win the game. Nick, our resident betting man, was so confident that we could win that he backed it at 40/1!
I will bang on no longer about our superb support as I simply do not have to. I will sign off with a post from a Cardiff City fan on a forum. Please excuse the shocking English (he is foreign after all) and bring on Bolton!!
“In my opinion it was the crowd that made the difference today...
Not too sure if our team stunned our supporters today but we were 2 up and there was nothing coming from our fans today, nothing like what I have been used to in the past, really 2 up and Palace sang at us "2-0 and you still don’t sing", and I agree we went very quiet, like as if we were 2 down.
The Palace fans just kept going, all the way through the first half, they were constant, 2 down and they did not give up, and in the second half they just kept up the noise, they were truly the 12th man today and hats off to them, they put us to shame on and off the pitch.
They pulled their team through today hats off to em, to our fans well if you can’t celebrate when 2 up when will you celebrate, and it no wonder they say our stadium is soulless if we can’t even make a noise when we winning.”