Palace Pay The Penalty
It was always going to be tough against a Spurs side intent on Champions League qualification this new season. But there was a chink in the armour. The Bale factor was always possible to work against them even if he was injured for this game. They are also notoriously slow starters even if we were suffering with some injuries to potential key players.
The pre-match build up included an absolutely fantastic display that was organised by the Holmesdale Fanatics which helped whip up the atmosphere into a frenzy, if indeed any was needed. Palace are here. Let the games begin.
The first half was more even than most would have expected. Palace even having the audacity of a share of possession to begin with as Jedinak, Garvan and Dobbie attempted to give the home side some impetus. Selhurst was indeed rocking and with Wilbraham a surprise inclusion to lead the line ably supported by the quick Gayle and imaginative Dobbie was threatening to prove the doubters wrong.
One of weak links at the back was supposed to left back Dean Moxey but he was having an inspired game highlighted no better than his winning tackle in the area. On the other side Joel Ward was having an equally good game, in fact the whole back line were holding off the visitors but the main problem was nothing was sticking up front. Wilbraham started to look for the ball wide but leaving a huge gap in the middle. Add to this some sloppy play coming into our game giving Spurs encouragement. The first real chance was through Demebele but it was Sigardsson with the best effort matched by a fine save from Julian Speroni. Soldado had a close ranger effort after great work from Lennon and right on the whistle Chadli had a header over. Best chance for Palace was a Wilbraham header saved by Lloris.
The second half started rather lethargically and it wasn’t long before Spurs had the opportunity to take the lead. A cross from the right was blocked by the hand of Moxey who was desparately trying to make the block and Spanish striker Soldado scored on his debut from the spot.
The strength was visibly zapped from the Palace players after all the hard work that they had put it. But this is the Premier League, you will be punished for the slightest error. Holloway decided it was time to make some changes with Chamakh, Williams and Phillips all coming on and injecting much needed enthusiasm. We stepped up again and took the game to the visitors who started to look jaded. Gayle had an effort that went over while a ball over the top from KG fell to Phillips but it was cleared by Lloris. Delaney had an effort from a corner that was saved. Perhaps the best chance was a back post header from Phillips fell to KG who fired at the keeper, twice but both were saved well.
It is arguably harder to lose by one goal than it is to get beaten comprehensively. We really should not have lost this game but it was a performance that perhaps was hindered by some injuries and not entirely fit players that would have been expected to start the game. It was a performance to be proud of and it certainly was not the nailed on away win that the experts were suggesting.
The Sky man of the match was Paulinho but in truth he was invisible for large parts of the game and it’s perhaps easier to choose a player from the winning team. But Mile Jedinak was absolutely immense and deserved the plaudits in this one, no doubt about it.
All said and done, with this performance we look like we might just be able to hold our own this season especially against the teams outside the top six. We will be just fine.
Palace line-up: Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Gabbidon, Moxey, Jedinak, Digacoi, Dobbie (Phillips), Garvan (Williams), Gayle, Wilbraham (Chamakh)