Lazio Conquer Selhurst
There was a bizarre atmosphere ahead of the game with Lazio. Even the walk to Selhurst from Norwood Junction there was hardly anyone around. Even to the point that I considered checking the ticket for the date.
It was with some relief that I turned the corner into the Holmesdale Road to find fans milling around but it was getting later and later before the gates were opened so that fans could go to the Red and Blue bar in the upper tier. It seems that the stewards were having a mass meeting in build up to the game (and season) and forgotten to open up. In hindsight, many more stewards than required for the attendance due for this friendly game.
Before a few quick Palace Ale’s in the bar it was a must to take in a view of the ground. The pitch looked absolutely fantastic but it was still Selhurst (no 12Bet in sight), if slightly improved in a few areas.
The one and only pre season friendly to take place at Selhurst. The Palace starting line up was perhaps a suggestion as to how we may be looking this season, or at least one the options available without taking into any account of potential new faces arriving.
The game started brightly, Dobbie looking up for it teasing the Lazio back line. But the visitors were accomplished on the ball as you would expect. Palace had a lot of the early play but it was Lazio that took the lead. A long range shot was parried by Speroni right into the path of legendary German striker Miroslav Klose who was never going to miss from that range. Lazio were one nil up after just twelve minutes.
Ten minutes later Jerome Thomas went down holding his calf and had to go off being replaced by Kyle De Silva. A few more chances for either team before the half, Moxey clearing off the line in slow motion for Palace while he was involved in some great build up play at the other end but Wilbraham failed to convert. Both Jedi and Williams were working hard to try and get things going in the middle.
Several substitutions later and the second half was ready to start with Speroni being called into action straight away and making a wonderful block denying Lazio who was through after a deflection. The best chance for an equaliser for Palace was through Dwight Gayle but he dragged his shot wide. Then Phillips was put through by Gayle but the veteran striker put his shot straight at the keeper. There was concern about Jedinak who went down after being struck in the face, he only went off as a precaution but was even then sporting a nice shiner.
It was good to see the young fringe players see some action with the likes of De Silva, Wynter, Boateng and Jerome Williams taking to the field in the second half.
All in all a very good work out for Palace who huffed and puffed but just could not find that cutting edge. Plenty of good play but no end product but that will come particularly as it was announced after the game the signing of Chamakh from Arsenal on a one year deal.
Palace team: Speroni, Ward (Dikgacoi 46), Gabbidon (Ramage 46), Delaney (Boateng 77), Moxey (Jerome Williams 74), Jedinak (Wynter 69), Garvan (O’Keefe 46), Jonny Williams (Bolasie 46), Dobbie (Grandin 46), Thomas (De Silva 22, Gayle 46), Wilbraham (Phillips 46)