Hull 0-1 Palace
Crystal Palace won their first away game in the Premier League in 8 years and 1 month at the KC Stadium thanks to a late Barry Bannan winner. The Scot, scoring his first Premier League goal in 2 years and 1 month, scored just moments after Yannick Bolasie was shown a straight red for a mistimed challenge on Jake Livermore.
Marouane Chamakh started for the Eagles but was substituted after 36 minutes as he never fully recovered from a clash of heads with former Palace centre back Paul McShane. This proved to be a blessing in disguise for the away side. His replacement, Cameron Jerome, came from the bench and put in by far and away his best performance in a Palace shirt to date and laid the only goal of the game on a plate with a great low cross after a beautiful drop of the shoulder lost his man.
"Jerome has a point to prove to Pulis."
As Jerome stripped off on the sideline I turned and said to the people that I was with “this could be good for us, he has a point to prove to Pulis.” It turned out I was right. Whilst scrappy at times, he proved to be a right handful, using his pace and strength to good effect and gave the Hull centre backs a torrid time before eventually assisting the winning goal.
What enabled this ‘smash and grab’ victory was a tremendous defensive display. Hull were limited to only one clear cut chance and shots from range as Damien Delaney and, most notably, Danny Gabbidon both put in faultless shifts, earning consecutive clean sheets for the first time this season.
Meanwhile, the midfield is finally starting to look like one that can handle the Premier League. Kagisho Dikgacoi and Mile Jedinak were strong in the middle despite long ‘international break’ trips for the two and Barry Bannan was tireless in his performance. With Gayle and Bolasie on the flanks there was genuine pace in the Palace attack meaning that the oppositions defence actually had something to think about, this was not the case under Holloway.
"A more dynamic attacking unit."
What was also interesting from the central three (Bannan, Jedinak and Dikgacoi) was the way they attacked. They shared the load with one always going forward as the other two sat. Up to this point this season it has only been the advanced midfielder who has consistently pushed forward with KG occasionally chipping in. Now Jedinak has started to venture forward and this makes us a more dynamic attacking unit.
Previously teams would know that Jedinak was never going to cross the halfway line by anymore than ten yards and thus they could forget about him once he had passed the ball in the initial stages of an attack. Now this is not the case. His forward venturing saw him find gaps in between the Hull defence and midfield and thus posed many problems to Steve Bruce’s men as they were just not expecting it. Credit must, once again, go to Keith Millen here.
"Luck finally favoured Palace."
Also apparent in this performance was that luck finally favoured Palace, despite a harsh sending off. In the first half a deflected George Boyd shot fell kindly for Speroni, Moxey was in the right place at the right time to clear off the line in stoppage time and the resulting shot from outside the box cannoned off the post. Three weeks ago all three of these would have found their way into the back of the net. Welcome back, luck.
All of these factors resulted in Palace picking up their first away win on a Saturday since November 2012, when late goals from Moritz and Dikgacoi gave the Eagles a 2-1 victory over Peterborough and moved Palace to the top of the Championship.
All in all, there was plenty to encourage the incoming manager.
Keith Millen hands over to Tony Pulis
At 12.13pm Crystal Palace officially announced Tony Pulis as the new manager of the club thus confirming that this would be Keith Millen’s last game in temporary charge. The performance that followed epitomised the difference that he has made in his four game spell as caretaker manager. Solid defensively, organised in midfield, a plan when going forward and a group of players that are prepared to play for him.
With a few minutes left of the clock the away end lavished praise on the caretaker boss, and self professed Crystal Palace fan, with an emotional chorus of “There’s only one Keith Millen!”It is expected that Pulis will keep Millen on but if he doesn’t, Keith Millen got the send off that he deserves for his efforts which, ultimately, could be vital should we stay up come May.
Man of the Match: Danny Gabbidon
In the West Brom match report I said that both Delaney and Gabbidon “need to be replaced in January.” The last two performances from Gabbidon mean that I have to completely reassess this opinion. Whilst I believe that the statement still holds true for Delaney as his lack of pace is just too easily exposed at this level (sorry, Damo), Gabbidon has pulled two top class Premier League performances out of his backside in the last two games and has proved that he has the credentials to be a big player for us this season.
"Gabbidon's pace and game reading ability are his strengths."
His pace and game reading ability are his strengths and he is now applying this on a regular basis. He picked up 6 interceptions in this match (more than anyone else on the field), made 3 tackles (the equal most in the match from any player) and won 5 aerial duels (bettered only by Jedinak and McShane with 6 apiece). Rating so highly in these three key defensive areas almost makes him a shoe in for man of the match.
What nailed it for Gabbidon (over Jerome and Bannan who were themselves superb) was, as pointed out by @paulstevens1973 on Twitter, that he even managed to get a cross in and a very dangerous cross at that. A complete performance from the veteran centre back.
Atmosphere: “We are Hull City”
This was one of the strangest atmospheres that I have ever witnessed at a football match. It took a long time for the Palace fans to warm up and it was probably only in the last twenty minutes that we got anywhere near our best. Naturally the goal led to great noise from the Palace fans for the remainder of the game.
What made it strange was the in game protest that happened in the home end, away to our left. For those who do not know, the long and short is that the Hull chairman (who the Hull fans actually owe a lot to for saving the club (sound familiar?), a point which the Hull fans are very aware of) wants to change the name of the club from Hull City to Hull Tigers (with an interim period of the team being called Hull City Tigers). The Hull fans do not want the name of the club to be changed. For more information head to citytillwedie.com.
"What ensued was chaos."
As the Hull fans unfurled a banner saying “We Are Hull City” the stewards attempted to wrestle the banner away from the two Hull fans displaying it. What ensued was chaos. Hull fans came running from all directions to wrestler the banner back and eventually won the battle and continued to display the banner up and down the stand to applause from both sets of fans.
For the stewards to try and confiscate the banner is quite frankly disgusting, especially considering that it is a mere statement of fact, and it was such a powerful statement from the Hull fans as hundreds ran to support the cause.
I was proud of both the Palace fans, for supporting the Hull fans in this struggle, and the Hull fans that I saw in a completely different light as they battled to protect their history and identity.
This aside, there was one golden moment in the first half. With Hull this week being named the City of Culture for 2017 the Palace fans naturally wanted to take the piss. “City of Culture you’re having a laugh” was uninventive from the Palace fans. The response from the Hull fans of “You’re only here for the culture” was simple yet genius. Football banter approaching its best.
What did they say on Match of the Day?
First and foremost they got it right by highlighting the difference that Cameron Jerome made when replacing the, crying, Marouane Chamakh. Players love to watch Match of the Day and Jerome deserves the credits that he got on national TV.
Then we get Alan Hansen. He sits there like a smug little prick and basically refuses to offer any insight on the Palace matches when they are show except to have the last word, which is always derogatory.
“They don’t look like they have enough quality to get out of that position.”
Fuck off, Hansen. Excuse my French.
Up Next: Norwich away
We have lost just once in our last six visits to Carrow Road. We had lost one of our last six games at the KC before yesterday. It is hard to explain why but sometimes teams just do better at certain away grounds and Carrow Road is one of the grounds where this holds true for us.
Three points next Saturday would be huge... Tony Pulis, over to you!
Come on you Palace!