Wolves 1-2 Palace
What a win. Again! Starting a write up with those three words will never ever grow old. Despite our three previous results which saw us pick up seven points against, now, top of the league Cardiff, promotion favourites Forest and Premier League drops outs Bolton, Palace fans still travelled to Molineux expecting to lose only to be proved wrong yet again.
Wilfried Zaha scored twice to see Palace come from behind yet again and inflict Wolves’ first home defeat of the season, sending the Eagles flying into the Play Offs and within one win of top spot.
To make things better, Wolves fans are talking about how this is their best performance of the season so far. Not only have we rolled into their backyard and beaten them, we have beaten them at their best.
Yes, we rode our luck a little. Speroni made a fantastic stop at 0-0, Doyle hit the bar at 1-0 and we had to stoically defend no fewer than eleven corners. If Doyle scores to make it 2-0 then perhaps we do not get back into the game, however, the response to going behind, in such horrible fashion, was superb from the players and most notably Zaha.
For the entire ninety minutes he was unplayable and finally got his reward, and his first goals of the season, as Wolves finally caved into the constant red n blue pressure of the last thirty minutes.
Wolves also had to ride a bit of luck before any goals had been seen. At 0-0 Zaha was clumsily tripped in the area only for the referee to emphatically NOT give the penalty. Many of us have been waiting for the moment that a stonewall was not awarded to us. We have been the recipients of so many penalties this season (all of which HAVE been penalties) but our penalty winning exploits has reached the press and now referees are conscious of the fact that we have received so many and we will struggle as a result to get an award in the next few games.
Am I being biased in saying this was a stonewall penalty? Take a look for yourself here. One doesn’t even need to look at the challenge! Simply look at the Wolves defender closest to the challenge. His hands immediately go to his head as he knows it is a penalty, however, the ref was clearly too busy watching something else.
After the game their manager talked about how Wolves created more chances, deserved the three points and that the first Palace goal was offside. Does he mention the penalty incident? No. He conveniently missed this out of post-match assessment.
It gets worse for the ref as well. For the second game running we have seen the referee allow scandalous tackles on Williams and Zaha go unpunished. Again, am I being biased? Take a look for yourself here
There is a tackle on Williams in that sequence that was lucky not to break his leg, yet in the post match press conference the interviewer asks the Wolves manager “There was a few tasty challenges FROM Williams. Do you have anything to say on him?” To the Solbakken’s credit he says “no”. But to the interviewer, you are an idiot. Henry kicked Williams all game yet you have the cheek to moan when Joniesta decides to get stuck in himself? Williams will do more for the game of football before he is 21 than Henry has managed in his entire career! It would be much better for the game if he kept his meaty, talentless, tackles to himself and not be such a girl when the child sized boy that he is kicking decides to fight back.
Anyway, enough of their dirty tactics and back to Wilf. His first goal displayed his stupidly fast feet as he left two defenders for dead with absolutely no momentum to work with before striking the ball into the far corner.
His second goal is just pure class. His movement to open up the pass for Garvan is brilliant. The ball from Garvan into Zaha is excellent. Zaha’s control is superb under solid pressure from the defender and his turn and finish is glorious. In the space of six second half minutes he added around £1m to his price tag.
Time and time again we have discussed the end product of the young prodigy. This is another example that he does have it in his locker and it is only a matter of time before he works out how to do it on a consistent basis. As I said in the Bolton report, when he works this out, Arsenal/Man Utd/Chelsea (take your pick) comes knocking.
Zaha’s two goals saw us overturn Ebanks-Blake’s opener after Delaney made his first noticeable mistake since his move from Ipswich. The Wolves striker caught the centre back in possession as Palace played keep ball and he punished Delaney in full. To be fair, Delaney can be forgiven for thinking that he was Lucio as we are playing like Brazil at the moment! Our passing is slick, our movement is fluid and the close control of our midfield is Premier League class. Moritz isn’t the only piece of Samba swagger that Freedman has introduced to Palace over the summer.
The Irishman was sprawled on the floor and buried his head in the turf as he saw the ball hit the back of the net. Speroni then comes to his rescue and pulls him up and gives him a pep talk. Whatever he said worked as Delaney went on to produce another exceptional defensive display.
All in all, a great performance away from home and another one that has me even more convinced that we are the real deal this season. Once January comes and we can add another player or two to this set up, we are more than likely going to be troubling the right end of the table for once!
Keep your diaries free in May as Wembley may be calling.
Let me start by stating that the Wolves fans were a total embarrassment to their club. They sat there in silence until they scored, sang a few songs and then went silent again when we equalised, left when we went 2-1 and booed at the full time whistle.
What made their singing even worse was that they merely concentrated on slagging off Zaha as he tried to beat players and naturally failed at points. For Zaha to then turn the game on its head singlehandedly was the perfect response and their unjustified tirades and led to my swear infested tweet after the second goal. I will not repeat it here as it is not something that I am proud of, however, it can still be found on my twitter account. I completely blame my outburst on the passion that I felt for my team at that moment in time. I will, however, apologise to our northern based fans. The tweet was obviously not directed at you!
The atmosphere from the Palace fans was outstanding. Even Wolves fans were commenting on how good it was it in their forums and on Twitter so a big well done to all that travelled to the game.
The first half was very similar to the old days when the away fans were next to the Holmesdale at Selhurst Park. Much of the singing was “banter” based and seemed to be more of a social commentary than a football match as Palace fans continuously referred to the Wolves fans being unemployed. The main difference was that this goading used to inspire away fans at Selhurst Park and often saw them drag their team back into games that they were not in. I stand by that our excellent home form in recent years, despite our awful league finishes, can be attributed to the away fans moving down to the Sainsbury’s end. Naturally I have missed the “banter” and do enjoy it now and then, but I do prefer us to concentrate our efforts on the team and that is exactly what we did to great effect in the second half. The Wolves fans used their goal to abuse Palace players and fans and goaded us into being louder, to get behind out team and thus help our team onto victory.
We all follow the Palace, over land and sea...
So few times I have seen other sets of fans singing for the entire ninety minutes, yet we do it game after game and it definitely does not go unnoticed by the players. Post match saw the player’s lavish praise on us via Twitter again, saying how we spur them on.
The HF were present in great numbers again and once again were superb and maybe, just maybe, there may have been another firework after the first goal. There has definitely been a bigger HF presence at more away games this season and long may this continue as a good atmosphere is integral to helping your team come from behind or hold onto a lead.
Up next is Charlie Austin at Selhurst Park. By Charlie Austin I obviously mean Burnley, however, he appears to be carry them on his back at the moment having already scored around 89 goals this season.
In Burnley we will face a new test. Can we win a game that we will be expected to win? Beating the poorer teams in the division can sometimes prove more difficult than beating the good teams.
Can I see anything but another 3 points for Palace? No.