Wigan 2-1 Palace
Premier League Crystal Palace were sent crashing out of the FA Cup by Championship side and holders of the famous trophy Wigan. Ben Watson and James McClean scored either side of an Aaron Wilbraham equaliser to see Rosler’s men into the fifth round. The holders’ victory, however, was far from deserved.
Ben Watson put the Latics ahead nine minute before the break, finishing off a move that possessed quality that the first half lacked on the whole. Al-Habsi had already brilliantly denied Cameron Jerome before Watson’s strike and again had to be at his best in the second half to deny Jason Puncheon’s volley.
"The equaliser eventually came in the 69th minute seeing Wilbraham score for the first time in 17 months."
The equaliser eventually came in the 69th minute seeing Wilbraham score for the first time in 17 months, prodding home a flicked on Barry Bannan corner. As Palace pushed for the winner Al-Habsi again came to Wigan’s rescue, diving away to his left to stop a Dwight Gayle blaster from range. Out of the blue Wigan hit on the break and scored what turned out to be the winner.
The game ended with controversy though, thanks to referee Mike Jones.
I’ve avoided rants about referees recently. Every fan of every team thinks that they are hard done by by referees. 90 minutes never goes by on a televised game without one set of fans singing “We always get sh*t refs.” Yesterday, as it has been for most of the season, the referee seemed intent on giving Palace nothing.
Mike Jones, for those of you that did not realise, was the referee that disallowed Tiote’s strike against Manchester City recently, ruling that Joe Hart’s view was obstructed by a Newcastle player in an offside position. The Newcastle player was offside, however, he was so far out of Hart’s vision that he might as well have been sitting in the stands behind the goal. A catastrophic error, but at least it was only one. At the DW yesterday he made two and it has cost Palace a place in the hat for the 5th Round draw today.
"The referee does not even produce a yellow card, let alone the red card that the challenge fully warranted."
Firstly there is the Callum McManaman elbow on Jonny Parr. The Norwegian ends up down for eight minutes and is rushed to hospital as a result yet the referee does not even produce a yellow card, let alone the red card that the challenge fully warranted. This is now the THIRD TIME that McManaman has put a player in hospital with a challenge and just like the challenge against Newcastle’s Haidara back in March 2013, he got away with it! The FA needs to take a long hard look at itself if they decide not to punish him retrospectively again as he will simply continue to make these shocking challenges and the victim might not be as lucky as Parr next time.
Then we have the decision not to award Palace a penalty two minutes from time. It is a stonewall penalty. Gayle gets the wrong side of former Palace player of the year Emerson Boyce. Boyce tugs him back, Gayle goes down and we should all be heading for a replay once Puncheon slots home the resulting spot kick... Instead, the ref and linesman wave pay on, a Wigan player is asking for Gayle to be booked for diving and Boyce is squaring up to our record signing.
"Well done Mike Jones on your complete ineptitude."
Well done Mike Jones on your complete ineptitude. What will his punishment be for his errors? He will be relegated for a week to the Championship to ref what the FA deem to be a lesser fixture which in itself is the height of bullsh*t! Why is it ok for a Championship game to be officiated by a terrible ref but not a Premier League game? It is clear to be that there needs to be some sort of overhaul on the way that a ‘terrible day at the office’ from a ref is dealt with/punished. I know that if I made three errors in my job akin to level of mistakes that Jones has made in the last few weeks, I would be sacked!
It was good to see club captain Paddy McCarthy back on the pitch after a layoff of what seems like a decade. Paddy is what he is. A honest, hard working pro and always gives his all and this is back by a decent amount of talent. Will he set the world alight at Centre Back? No, but I am always happy to see him play for Palace on the grounds that he will put everything on the line for the shirt.
Welcome back, Paddy.
Of course he was going to score. Nick and I talked about him scoring the opening goal at odds of 16/1 on the train up to the game. For some reason we talked ourselves out of placing the bet and it took only 36 minutes for us to regret our decision. The regret was promptly forgotten however as Watson wheeled away and celebrated scoring!
Debate then raged on Twitter. Should he be celebrating or should he put his head down and walk back to the halfway line in respect for the team that helped to where he is today?
I can see both sides of the argument. Those who had no problem with him celebrating pointed to the fact that he often got abuse from sections of Palace fans and thus doesn’t owe us that respect. The abuse was mainly due to his knack of always picking out the first defender from corner kick after corner kick. Then of course there was the penalty miss at Ashton Gate.
"I was a little bit disappointed to see him celebrate."
I was not in the abusive camp. I loved Ben Watson and always rated him, and still do and was made up for him when he scored the winner in the FA Cup final last season. As a result I was a little bit disappointed to see him celebrate for that reason. “Nice if they do, fine if they don’t” said Racing Post editor and Palace fan Bruce Millington on Twitter and this is probably the best way to sum it up. After all, he only celebrated a goal. At least he didn’t remorselessly smash our captain’s face to bits with an elbow*.
The drum was present and beat out 90 minutes of nonstop Palace singing, again picked up by the TV microphones and was all that you could hear on the highlights of the match. Wigan fans proved themselves to be yet another Palace tribute act as they shamelessly joined in with “We Love You” after we scored our goal. Despite the result and the weather, a lot of fun was had in the stands and proved true the words “Stand in the rain and stand in the sun...”
Up Next: Hull
Another massive Premier League game at Selhurst Park. Our almost immaculate Tuesday night record at home is once again on the line. 17 wins and 3 draws from the last 20 games is the sort of form that we will want to continue as a win could see us climb has high as 11th place in the table!
Come on you Palace.
*For the people who seem to be missing the context of this line, let me do the maths for you.
Alan Lee Elbow + Mile Jedinak's face = An ex player smashing our captain' face to bits which is a lot worse than an ex player celebrating when he scores.