Brighton 0-0 Palace
This match report is written by author of the Palace Addiction, James Howland. He is filling in for me while I sun myself in Mexico on honeymoon. You can buy his book here.
Well that was a bit of a let down wasn’t it? At least Terence can relax on his honeymoon, knowing he missed absolutely nothing on the South Coast!
Palace gained their first Away point and first clean sheet since April as they played out a dire 0-0 draw against their bitter rivals. Christian Benteke and Wilfried Zaha forced Brighton’s keeper, Matt Ryan, into an outstanding double save early on with what proved to be by far the most clear-cut chances of the match. While we’d no doubt be hailing the save if Speroni had made it, as a Palace fan, you can’t help but feel one of them should have scored and the night would have been oh-so-different.
Brighton put us under a lot of pressure in the second half and had ten corners but never looked like threatening, other than one header cleared off the line. Maybe it’s my red and blue glasses but I feel, despite currently being 8 points ahead of us, Brighton are a poor side who were there for the taking if we’d been a touch more ambitious. Still, Hodgson clearly set us up for the point, which we got, and his tactics continue to inch us back into the pack.
Square Pegs in Round Holes.
This may be the most obvious point of the evening and I’m sure anyone with access to the internet will have read it multiple times since Tuesday night but why-oh-why are we playing Zaha centrally and Loftus-Cheek out wide now that Benteke is fit again? Whenever Wilf drifted out wide and had space to run into on Tuesday, he looked threatening. However, centrally, he lacked space and found himself with his back to goal far too often. Between that, and Donkey Dunk clinging on to his shirt as regularly as he scores own goals, I can’t imagine how frustrated our main man was!
Thus far, I’ve been incredibly impressed with Roy and I’m hoping this is simply down to him still learning about the players. Remember, since Zaha has been fit, Hodgson has had little choice but to play him up front - and he’s delivered.
Like the game, and presumably because of it, the atmosphere was a huge let down. Palace fans started off loudly but soon quietened down. I’ve got to say, Brighton’s support was pretty dire from the start. Most of the noise came from the sporadical rants of individuals towards us. I’m not sure whether the 50 year old Phill Mitchell look-a-likes or 20-something middle class Herberts with hair cuts costing more than theatre tickets were more embarrassing as they gave us slit-throat gestures.
One highlight was the applause that we gave Glenn Murray at the start, when he was subbed and as he came over to applaud us at the end. It’s good to know Glenn still loves us - and Palace fans love him!
Like everyone else, I was frustrated at being treated like a criminal on Tuesday night. From being held up at Lewes station and only arriving at 7:43, to being locked in for 45 minutes after the game, to being herded onto a train home, it wasn’t exactly a fun evening. Unfortunately, I find it incredibly hard to criticise the Police when both clubs have fans with no regard to other people’s enjoyment or safety.
In 2011, the police marched us straight up Queens Road from Wetherspoons to the station and sure enough, as we walked past the pubs near the station, the Brighton fans launched glass bottles over as the two sets of fans tried to attack each other. On Tuesday, Palace fans were taken on an hour and fifteen minute tour of the lanes to avoid said pubs. What happened? They got to the ground late and weren’t let in because some Palace morons had charged into the ground through a fire exit. The video posted on various social media is near impossible to defend.
After the game in 2011, we were let out straight away. What happened? Some of Brighton’s morons threw coins, bottles and even a brick at us, and one of my mates was swung for. Being kept back after the game in a crushed area was horrible but what other alternative is there? Still, credit to Brighton for keeping the bar open - I managed to have two pints of Harveys while I waited!
Until a minority of fans learn how to behave in a manner suiting the 21st century, and giving basic respect to other human beings, we’ll continue to be treated like criminals at the Amex.
Of course, in an ideal world, the minority of morons and the police would both learn from their many mistakes on Tuesday but both sides seem happy to blame each other and take no responsibility. Unfortunately, next time, I can’t see it being any different.
As for bangers, can’t we just all agree they’re a bit naff and offer nothing to the atmosphere? That way, we don’t even need to open the debate about the terrorism fear they bring!
Anyway, on to West Brom and a familiar face for us all to argue over!
Come on the Palace!