Palace 2-3 Newcastle
Crystal Palace narrowly missed out on a fourth round League Cup trip to Manchester City in a rollercoaster of a night at Selhurst Park. Both sides fielded heavily changed sides from the weekend Premier League encounters, a full eleven changes in Palace’s case, but this did not take away from what was an exciting night under the floodlights.
Dwight Gayle opened the scoring with a 25th minute penalty after Wilfried Zaha had his legs hacked from beneath him by Janmaat, when the Palace winger was seemingly running into a dead end. This goal came against the run of play but it did not take the wind out of the Newcastle sails. Alan Pardew’s men looked bright and inventive in the final third and eleven minutes after falling behind they were deservedly level through Riviere’s first goal for the club; a beautiful curling left footed shot into the bottom corner after questionable defending from the two Palace centre backs.
"Sullay Kaikai struck in stoppage time on his debut to take the game into extra time."
It was then Newcastle’s turn from the spot three minutes into the second half as Ameobi was chopped down by Paddy McCarthy in the penalty area. Riviere side footed home, just evading the hand of Wayne Hennessey. Crystal Palace then woke up and hit the post through Dwight Gayle before Sullay Kaikai struck in stoppage time on his debut to take the game into extra time.
Abeid was then dismissed for a second yellow card in the first period of extra time and Palace looked to hold all of the momentum. A Gayle effort was ruled out for offside before the game was turned on its head as Dummett headed home on the break for the visitors with 112 minutes on the clock.
The game should have been taken to penalties as Palace poured forward in search of a second equaliser with the best chance falling to Adrian Mariappa. A deflected Jake Gray cross looped up towards the back stick and an unmarked Mariappa climbed to nod home at the back stick. Instead he headed straight at the keeper Elliot which will see it go down as a great save as opposed to a sitter missed.
“Super Al” thus holds on to his job for a little longer, although his waving to the Palace fans as they sang his name probably only achieved a further damning in the eyes of his own ‘fans’’ eyes.
Sullay Kaikai: Dream Debut will lead to Pressure
There is only one place to start and that is with the man of the moment, Sullay Kaikai. To score on your debut is one thing, to do it in front of a packed Holmesdale Road to level a game in injury time is fairy tale stuff:
“I can’t really describe how I feel, I am just buzzing… AJ was actually going to go for it but I had to shout at him to leave it for me” said Kaikai to Mark Ritson of the Croydon Advertiser.
“I have dreamt of doing that a million times, making my debut and scoring in it.”
Aside from the goal I thought that his all-around performance was pretty solid. He used the ball well and made several very good runs, often not spotted by the players around him. He never looked out of his depth and it is up there with one of the most promising debuts that I have seen from the Academy since Wilfried Zaha tore Leicester City apart on his full debut for the club.
I am weary of comparisons, however. Last night in the rest period between full time and the start of extra time I tweeted;
“So will Kaikai be another Clinton Morrison? Or another Ibra Sekajja? Hope it is the former.”
Now for me this is a natural comparison. Both Morrison and Sekajja, like Kaikai, came off the bench to score on their debut. Morrison in a 1-0 win against Sheffield Wednesday back in the Premier League in 1998 and Sekajja to equalise in a 1-1 draw up at Hull late on in the 2010-11 season (a goal that effectively secured Championship survival). Youth team goalkeeper David Gregory took apparent offense to the tweet;
“Give the kid a break he’s 19 and just had the best possible start to his career as a pro… don’t start comparing him to players yet, let people enjoy him for the player he is for the night.”
This got me thinking. With Twitter giving us all a way to communicate with people (such as footballers for the club you support) that you would never have had any contact with before, it strikes up interesting scenarios such as this one.
"I have effectively been accused of heaping too much pressure on the kid."
Through an innocent tweet of natural comparison of players that have scored on debut from the academy, I have effectively been accused of heaping too much pressure on the kid. Obviously this was not my direct intention but then as I thought it through, it is the way it is if a player is successful. Whether that it right or wrong is a debate for another time, but in the world of football if you score on your debut, especially for a Premier League club, it is going to add pressure on your development. How well he subsequently handles said pressure is now as much of a factor to his success as is the football that he plays from this point. If he can’t handle the pressure, he will fail as a footballer.
Looking back on the tweet now, without several beers in the system, it was probably an unnecessary tweet at the time. I mean I could have waited for net to stop shaking. If Sullay has read it (or is reading this) then apologies if it caused any negativity. Obviously that was not my aim. I want you to succeed and I will do whatever I can to aid that. However, the harsh reality is that if you truly want this then that is the way it is going to be and to shield you from that would be wrong in my opinion.
But as Gregory said you have made “best possible start” and I will cheer you on regardless of what happens from this point.
The Midfield Three: Geudioura, Bannan and Williams
45% possession goes a long way to showing us all the difference in style from our Premier League model. Sure 45% is still not rocking anyone’s world but they did a decent job in there and it is the most possession we have had in near on a year. Defensively they looked pretty solid, our issues in this game came down the flanks, and they were neat and tidy in what they did a majority of the time. Decision making was sometimes wayward, especially when it came to the likes of Bannan shooting from 40 yards on a couple of occasions, but each of the three showed that they are not to be dismissed off hand by Palace.
As I discussed in the match preview yesterday, I felt that this was perhaps last chance saloon for Joniesta, especially if he was played out wide. Thankfully he was played through the middle and he did a decent job. The harsh reality is, however, he didn’t create much. Again, the ability to do this comes with game time and he is just not getting any.
"I think that a season long loan deal to a Championship club and a healthy year will do him the world of good."
What I think he did show is that he can play at this level but in order to fine tune his game he needs to take a step back before he can move forward. I think that a season long loan deal to a Championship club and a healthy year will do him the world of good. He can build up match experience, learn a bit more about his own game and how to apply it and then come back with a lot more of his potential realised.
Bannan and Guedioura on the other hand both showed enough for me to feel comfortable with the back-up that we have should we lose a player to injury in the first team. I actually think that we have far from seen the best of Guedioura. He is a bit rough around the edges but I genuinely believe that he can moulded into a very good footballer.
The Return of AJ
Anyone who didn’t experience the chill of goose bumps on the back of their neck when he climbed from the bench yesterday is dead to me. Again, it went against all rationale as he is never going to be the AJ of old but irrationality is what being a football fan is all about for me.
But wait! He actually did ok. I am not going to get overly carried away here, I promise, but we might actually get a use out of him yet.
"I thought that he found space exceptionally well, he still has decent pace and his fantastic movement is obviously still there."
I thought that he found space exceptionally well, he still has decent pace and his fantastic movement is obviously still there. The annoying thing about his performance was that he dropped too deep. He actually managed to get onto the ball an awful lot, dropping in between the lines, but he couldn’t make things happen from there. Every through ball he attempted was telegraphed and easily picked off by the Newcastle backline and at times he completely missed the obvious pass and ended up giving the ball away as a result.
Much like Kevin Phillips in the promotion season, he could work very well as an impact player late on with the odd start thrown in for good measure. He was better than Kevin Doyle was on the night, that’s for sure.
We had one fantastic debut on the night from Kaikai but what about this one? Not so much. He was skinned on multiple occasions, his positioning looked suspect at times and he was very tentative when going forward. Short of scoring an own goal it probably couldn’t have gone much worse for him.
Weirdly, however, I was strangely encouraged. Obviously not his performance, I’ve already said that sucked, but his attributes all add up to what could be a pretty decent left back. He is big and strong, has great pace and good control of the football. He reminds of Nathaniel Clyne.
"Fryers possesses this sort of pace and his positioning is better than Clyne’s was at this stage in his career."
Now Clyne positioning has got better over the years, but in his earlier years he was shocking and he had to rely on his pace to get him out of trouble time and time again. I remember laughing time and time again at players who thought that they had got in behind our defence only for Clyne to fly back and knick the ball. Fryers possesses this sort of pace and his positioning is better than Clyne’s was at this stage in his career.
Naturally I would need to see him play a few more times to full stamp down this opinion but I genuinely saw a promising full back that merely looked a bit rusty and lacking in confidence. Neil Warnock should be the perfect man to help his game along.
Man of the Match: Sullay Kaikai
It’s the emotional choice and I have already talked about him above. To score on his debut, having the confidence to call off a Palace legend in the process. What a debut. Can’t wait to see more of him.
Up and down really. Good at points, poor for long periods.
I was amazed at the Geordie turnout but I suspect that many of the several thousand in attendance are London based Newcastle fans. For example, I knew of 4 London based fans in there.
What was great was the atmosphere in and around the Kaikai goal. It was loud and comparable to a Premier League game at that point and for the kid to wheel away in front of the HF backed by the roar from the rest of the Holmesdale must have been amazing for him.
Up Next: Leicester
The second of the three promoted clubs to come to Selhurst Park and they come with some confidence having started life back in the top flight very well. They stuffed United 5-3 on the weekend and there will be quite a few people liking the look of their odds to get another win this weekend, but I am quietly confident that we will turn them over.
Much like Everton they love to attack with their full backs and leave a lot of space in behind. Space that Bolasie and Puncheon will exploit. The tough part will be goading them out as they love to hit on the counter just like us. I expect goals, but I said that of the Burnley game as well.
Come on you Palace!