Palace 1-0 Stoke
Jason Puncheon promptly answered all of his critics after his horrendous penalty miss at White Hart Lane with a vital winning goal for Crystal Palace. After a “long week” the on loan Southampton winger picked up a loose ball in the penalty and two drops of the shoulder gave him the angle to slot the ball into the far bottom corner and haul the Eagles up to 16th place in the process.
The build up to the match was a big Tony Pulis and Stoke City love-fest but once the first whistle blew the former Potters gaffer had his mind on his new team and oversaw what will prove to be a massive three points for the South London club should they survive this season.
In truth, this was yet another match at Selhurst Park that lacked quality as Pulis’ men nullified all of Stoke’s strengths with a battling midfield performance. Adam was often smothered by red ‘n’ blue shirts and the Scot had few chances to stamp his authority on the match as a result.
It is on the break that Pulis looks for his team to create chances and Palace did, especially late on. Only a man of the match performance from England U21 goalkeeper Jack Butland in between the Stoke City sticks kept the winning margin to just one. An unbelievable triple save five minutes from the end, denying Ward, Puncheon and then O’Keefe was then followed up with another save from Puncheon in stoppage time. Promising signs for England’s future.
"Julian Speroni at the other end also had his say in the match."
Julian Speroni at the other end also had his say in the match. In a game where, as Mark Hughes so insightfully informed us in his post match press conference, “the first goal was always going to be key” the Argentinean had to be at his best to deny a Wilson header. He then claimed the resulting corner under pressure to show Pulis that he perhaps can be the commanding goalkeeper that he wants in the Palace goal.
Wilson went from potential match winner to conspiring to give Palace the win. An Assaidi pass caught the defender flat footed in the penalty area and Puncheon pounced to score the winner that moved Palace to within three points of 11th position in the Premier League.
Jason Lands Punch On His Critics
What else can I say but fair play to the lad? As Puncheon left the field it was clear that he was close to tears as relieve overwhelmed him as all of the weight of the penalty miss at Spurs visibly dropped from his shoulders.
At Spurs he could have scored the penalty and we could have lost the game anyway. We would have probably sat back to try and defend the lead and Spurs still may have scored twice regardless. What this goal means is three points and there is no debate to be had where that is concerned and Puncheon deserves his rest bite.
"With this goal he also answered his main critic, Neil Warnock."
With this goal he also answered his main critic, Neil Warnock. “Never in a million years would I have let him take that penalty” said Warnock. The former Palace gaffer suggested that Puncheon lacked the character needed to put away such an important penalty. Jason Puncheon awakes today with all the newspapers singing his praises having responded in the right way to the criticism from Warnock by showing all of his character with the ball at his feet.
Well done, Jason.
What Did They Say on Match of the Day?
They started with a graphic of our formation. This graphic had Puncheon in behind Chamakh and Guedioura on the flank. They then went on to talk about how Puncheon and Bolasie caused Stoke all sorts of problems down the FLANKS!!! As brilliantly bad as ever when it comes to Palace.
Puncheon was worthy of his praise but I found their praise of Bolaise very naïve. This is not a knock at Yala in the slightest but he did not have his best game, yet ‘pundit’ Danny Murphy raved about the winger as if he had torn Stoke City a new one. To highlight a performance of a player that, even Yala would admit, was nowhere near his best is just poor and lazy punditry. God knows what they are going to say when Bolasie actually starts finding performances like he showed last season.
Man of the Match: Jason Puncheon
This is going for the easy option somewhat. But for the reasons stated above he just pips the award from me.
Praise must also go to the entire back four and goalkeeper. The very same defence have struggled against height in the past and to handle Crouch so successfully means that they must be extremely happy with the clean sheet, our 6th of the season.
The last ten minutes were absolutely incredible. The noise levels were deafening and this once more lead to praise being heaped on us as fans.
The first eighty minutes were hit and miss, however. It is almost as if nervousness is getting the better of us in tight games. Let’s open those throats up people and get behind the team like only we can do in this league.
Up Next: Wigan
It’s the holders in the FA Cup. A new ground to visit for many Palace fans and also a good chance for Palace to progress to the 5th round.
Come on you Palace!