Saints 2-0 Palace

Austin (33 pen) Hesketh (63)
Wed 21st September 2016
St Mary's

Crystal Palace failed to make it three wins in a row in Cup competition at St Marys. After winning at Southampton away in the FA Cup in the previous two seasons, the hosts were finally the team to advance. 

Charlie Austin converted a penalty won by Shane Long shortly after the half-hour before Jake Hesketh scored his first senior goal just after the hour to put the game beyond doubt.

Was it a Penalty?

"Shane Long is quick and has got a bit of history in those situations. He was definitely going over, I know that, but the video I saw was inconclusive" said Alan Pardew after the match.

"The players felt it (the penalty) was a bit harsh, but it was difficult to see unless you see it clearly on television."

When Shane Long wins a penalty, I am always sceptical. His first thought is always to draw contact, and there is definitely an element of that in this decision, but Martin Kelly has done himself no favours whatsoever. The ball is there for Kelly to win but stupidly goes for it with his right foot. If he sweeps around the side with his left foot, then he takes the ball first and the referee cannot point to the spot. 

There are more problems than just the tackle. Kelly keeps running backwards before the ball comes in when he should stop in line with Damien Delaney. If he does that, then he is in a better position to clear the ball that comes in and, further, doesn't need to make the clearance as Austin is likely flagged offside in the middle.

Cup Exposes Squad Depth

Kelly being in the position to make the foul is part of a wider problem - our unbalanced transfer window coming back to bite us in the arse. Pape Souare, James Tomkins and Scott Dann are now all out. These injuries leave us with Delaney as our only fit centre-back. Yes, Kelly has appeared at centre back before, but I can count on one hand the number of times that he has played in this position since arriving at Palace - and he certainly wasn't playing there regularly for Liverpool.

A third round league cup tie at Southampton should be an exercise in squad depth. Scott Dann and Wilfried Zaha should not even be on the bench for this match. We know that Southampton are going to play a considerably weakened side, and this should be the chance for our second string players to make a claim for the first team. Instead, Dann has to play because there is no one else and he is taken off injured within twenty minutes. 

I am extremely frustrated because it was clear to see from long before the transfer window closed that this defensive crisis could easily occur - and here we are.

With a trip to Sunderland coming up, we are now looking at a potential back four of Ward - Kelly - Delaney - Fryers. Ward is middle of the road at best, Kelly is a full back playing centre back, Delaney is battling with age and Fryers struggled on loan at Doncaster. Jermaine Defoe must be licking his lips.

Talking of those players that should be using this sort of game to get themselves noticed by Pardew, Sako and Mutch were dreadful. January should be time to wave goodbye to these two.

Man of the Match: Wayne Hennessey

The Welshman kept the score down with several fine stops. A great reaction from the keeper to losing his place to Steve Mandanda.

Up Next: Sunderland

The four fixtures after this match are Everton, West Ham, Leicester and Liverpool - we took two points from those four matches last season. Three points are a must up at the Stadium of Light, but with the squad down to the bare bones it could be a struggle.

Come on you Palace!

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James Adcock

Crystal Palace

Palace Manager: 
Alan Pardew


Opposition Manager: 
Claude Puel