Date: 15th February 2010 at 10:46am
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Cast your mind back a mere three decades. Its early 1980, and the media people are telling everyone/anyone who will listen, that Terry Venables Crystal Palace are destined to be ‘The Team Of The Eighties’. Things were looking up at Selhurst Park, an upwardly mobile young team, a well respected young manager at the helm, and things could only go one way for Crystal Palace Football Club. Or so we were assured.

Of course, as we all well know, it didn’t happen the way the so called experts predicted it would do. Venables moved on, to be replaced for a second brief stint by Malcolm Allison (he of the fedora hat, and bath time with Fiona Richmond fame), the young Palace team broke up and went their separate ways, and apart from a couple of brief sojourns spent in the top flight, Crystal Palace were once again doomed and destined to tread the backwaters of English football.

Now thirty years on, things are arguably as gloomy as ever, the club hovering just above the relegation places in the Championship, after being deducted points for losing their battle against falling into the hands of the administrator. The immediate future looks far from rosy, but you wouldn’t have been able to have read that situation from the faces of the home supporters as they filed into Selhurst Park for the F.A. Cup fifth round tie. They were well and truly ‘up for the cup’, creating a superb atmosphere, playing their part in proving that the oldest and most respected knock out tournament in the world is still very much alive and kicking.

As for myself and my four traveling companions, we had journeyed down from Brum, cautiously optimistic, without being over confident. On all of the occasions that we have visited Selhurst Park down the years, not one of us could readily recall a good Villa performance. We did see us come back from 2-0 down to draw a League Cup tie 2-2 when goals from Chico Hamilton and Andy Lochhead secured a Villa Park replay, but even on the odd occasion we’ve triumphed here, the performance has left a lot to be desired.

Going back to our most recent visit, a 2-0 defeat some five years or so back, we’d been outfought and outplayed, and were lucky to return home without suffering a heavier defeat.

As had been widely reported in the days leading up to the game, Gabby was unfit and not able to keep his place, but Stan Petrov was deemed able to keep hold of the captains armband. A surprise return for Stephen Warnock, we hadn’t seen that one coming, and Luke Young preferred to Carlos Cuellar at right full back. In goal MON had also decided to go with Brad Snr as opposed to baby Brad, so we lined up as follows:-

Friedel, L. Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock, Petrov, Milner, Downing, Delph, A. Young, Heskey.

On the bench:- Guzan, Delfouesno, Carew, Cuellar, Sidwell, Beye, Davies.

We started brightly, looking composed, in very little trouble, yet once again we seemed to lack that cutting edge when we approached the home sides penalty area. In fairness to Palace, they certainly weren’t overawed, and played with plenty of spirit within their ranks. Manager Warnock had assured the home faithful that they wouldn’t exit the competition without putting up one hell of a fight, and his players certainly gave credence to their managers fighting words.

On twenty-five minutes the stadium erupted as Palace took the lead. Darren Ambrose swung over a left wing corner, Brad flapped, although in fairness he may well have been impeded by Stephen Warnock, and up rose foreign import Ertl, to score what we learned in the pub afterwards, was his first goal for the club after two years plus at Selhurst Park. Game on!

Danns hit a shot from the edge of the area straight down Friedel’s throat, and as we all agreed at the time, if that had have flown in, at 2-0 down we would really have been up against it.

We’d lost a bit of composure following Palace’s opener, but fortunately James Collins got on the end of an inswinging delivery from Stewie Downing, and at 1-1 we were back in business.

Ambrose was a real live-wire for the home team, and just before the break he tested Brad from range, in what was becoming quite a compelling cup-tie.

John Carew came on for the disappointing Emile Heskey at the interval, the opening forty five minutes re-iterating what many supporters believe. This current team is one very good centre-forward away from being a very good team.

Into the second half and JC had a shot on the turn saved by the home keeper, but the contest remained open, with Palace coming forward at every opportunity, responding superbly to the vocal support from their supporters.

Then on seventy minutes the home side took the lead again, following a superbly struck twenty-five yard free kick from Ambrose. Serious stuff now, with hopes of a second trip to Wembley this season looking under serious threat.
John Carew brought a fine save out of the Palace keeper, while James Collins failed to notch his second of the game when his close range effort was scrambled off the line.

Delfouesno had been thrown on in place of Delph as we chased the game, and while he looked lively, the minutes ticked away with no sign of another Villa goal in sight.

Then came Cap’n Stan’s late equaliser, and we live to fight another day. Joyous celebrations amongst the traveling Villans, coupled with the realisation that the Eagles came very, very close to dumping us out of the competition.

Right, here we go with my marks out of ten:-

Player Ratings

Brad Friedel – 5

Luke Young – 6

James Collins – 6

Richard Dunne- 6

Stephen Warnock – 5

James Milner – 6

Stilyan Petrov – 6

Stewart Downing – 6

Fabian Delph – 7

Ashley Young – 6

Emile Heskey – 4

John Carew – 6

Nathan Delfouesno – 6


11 Replies to “Glensider At Selhurst Park”

  • Phew, was a decent cup tie if you were a neutral I’d think but blimey we did make hard work of that didn’t we?

    Thought we started so strongly as well, did think our quality was going to over power them!

    They were unlucky with our 2nd as well, clearl

  • it was JF but if we go down that road then their first should have been disallowed as the ball was completely outside the corner markings, and Lee should have been off for elbows, still, it happens and on we go

  • Thought Palace played very well, we played well and a draw was a fair, dont understand people moaning thou, we dont have a define right to win and play well every game, im happy so far with our season, a cup final still in the FA Cup and a chance for 4th.

  • Thank you Mr G, appreciated as always, a hard fought match against a side that were really up for it, plenty of pressure and a good work rate.

  • I would love to ask Mr Warnock how many penalties/free kicks/throw ins/corners Palace have been awarded this season when they clearly were’nt.Swings and roundabouts are the words that come to mind

  • It was a typical old fashioned cup tie, and I have to re-affirm that I/we thoroughly enjoyed the whole match day experience. Enjoyable game, decent result, even the trek to Selhurst Park (an absolute beast of a haul) didn’t seem too harrowing an experienc

  • Great article as usual GS. Wish I could have seen the game, sounds like it was a cracker! I am a bit worried about the timing of the replay though. Anyone know if ManUre have a mid-week game before the final of the CC ? I can see us fielding either a weak

  • Just checked, ManUre have West Ham in the PL on the Tuesday night. But they can field a weakened team and still win that, they are at home too. I think Villa should field their best team against CP and try to win in 90 mins., otherwise they may face a 120

  • Another fine report, thank you Glensider. You reiterated what i was going to comment on, that this was a typical FA cup tie, the underdogs facing up to the Premiership big boys and giving it large!! A great game for neutrals to watch, apart from some po

  • This was definitely a game that under previous managers we wouldve rolled over and died in, great fighting spirit from our boys to pull it level late on.Great never say die attitude, you never feel we are out of a game even with 5 mins to go

  • a great game for the neutral…but certainly not good for my nerves!! I would imagine Gabby will be back for replay and being at home will (hopefully) make a big difference. Was dissapointed with Warnocks moaning (though not in the least bit surprised) bu

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