This season, I want to take a walk down memory lane to look back through my twenty-four years and over 600 games of watching Palace.
For each home game, I will reflect on the highs and lows that I have seen against our opposition. Some clubs, I have a rich history of great Palace moments, and for others, there has been limited encounters but I will try to capture the emotion, context and excitement of the Palace life.
Since 1990 and a certain game at Villa Park that I was far too young to remember, Palace have held a strange hold over the North-West giants. Well, except the odd time that they have thrashed us. Despite seeing four victories, including one at Anfield, against Liverpool, my highlight against them could only be one match in my eyes!
Palace…3 (Delaney, Gayle (2))
5th May 2014, Premier League
Palace – Speroni, Mariappa, Ward, Dikgacoi, Ince, Dann, Delaney, Puncheon (Gayle 65), Jedinak, Chamakh (Murray 71), Ledley, Bolasie
Liverpool – Mignolet, Johnson, Flanagan, Gerrard, Skrtel, Sakho, Leiva, Sterling (Coutinho 78), Sturridge (Moses 86), Suarez. Allen
With so many great memories to pick from, it is hard to explain why my favourite was a draw. And a “meaningless” one at that. As much as the sheer volume of the roar of the crowd when Dwight Gayle fired home the equaliser will stay with me forever, it was actually the feeling of pride that I had when we were three down that puts this ahead of some of our other great results against them. Selhurst was rocking from start to finish as we celebrated an unbelievable seven months under Tony Pulis where we achieved the impossible to survive.
Obviously, Tony “homeless” Pulis has somewhat tainted our memory of him but this match does allow us to remember the brilliant feeling of surviving in the top flight for the first time since 1992. At the start of December, we had back to back victories over Cardiff City and West Ham United, which did not leave me dreaming of survival, they left me relieved that we should beat Derby County’s pitiful eleven point record as the worst team in Premier League history. Therefore, at 0-3 or 3-3, it is no wonder that we celebrated all night like we had won the World Cup as we clinched eleventh place.
For me personally, the match had an added emotion – it was to be my last at Selhurst for over a year as I moved to Sydney. I stayed in my seat long after full time in a trance at the love that I felt to my Palace. Watching football, win or lose, there is no better feeling than pride, which is what everyone – players, fans, owners, even Pulis, should feel about that night. Oh, and maybe a snigger at Luis Suarez crying…
6th March 2016, Premier League
Palace -McCarthy, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Zaha, Cabaye (Mutch 70), Jedinak, Ledley (Gayle 82), Adebayor (Sako 81), Bolasie
Liverpool – Mignolet, Flanagan, (Coutinho (61), Lovren, Sakho, Moreno, Milner, Henderson, Can, Lallana, Firmino (Toure 88), Origi (Benteke 80)
The 2015-16 season was one of the more bizarre ones – even for Palace! Fifth at Christmas, and then two incredible runs. One sensational rise to the FA Cup Final and one disastrous tumble down the league.
Palace took the lead early in the second half and the confidence that we had shown before Christmas returned to the side. Liverpool were on the ropes and when James Milner was sent off, it seemed to leave us with a clear path to victory. However, Alex McCarthy, who had been surprisingly picked ahead of Jules to play in goal with Wayne Hennessey out injured, slipped and gifted the scousers an equaliser. Still, Palace looked comfortable enough to see the game out for a credible draw until Christian Benteke dived to win a penalty in the last minute and crush us.
The game was Palace’s twelfth without a league win (four draws/eight losses) and saw up slip to within three places of the drop zone. While we were still nine points clear of relegation, the utter ridiculousness of the manner in which we snatched a defeat from the jaws of victory was devastating and we left Selhurst wondering if we were going to pull off the impossible relegation. Just like the 3-3, I was glued to my seat after the players had trudged off but this time, it was in a state of disappointment and shock.
My Personal Record Of Live Matches Against Liverpool
- Palace…2 Liverpool…1 (League Cup Semi-Final, 2001) – Morrison, Rubins
- Palace…0 Liverpool…0 (FA Cup R4, 2003)
- Palace…1 Liverpool…0 (Premier League, 2005) – Johnson
- Palace…2 Liverpool…1 (League Cup R3, 2005) – Freedman, Reich
- Liverpool…3 Palace…1 (Premier League, 2013) – Gayle
- Palace…3 Liverpool…3 (Premier League, 2014) – Delaney, Gayle (2)
- Palace…1 Liverpool…2 (Premier League, 2016) – Ledley
- Palace…2 Liverpool…4 (Premier League, 2016) – McArthur (2)
- Liverpool…1 Palace…2 (Premier League, 2017) – Benteke (2)
- Liverpool…1 Palace…0 (Premier League, 2017)