Palace Hold On For A Point After Defensive Howler

The Eagles ended 2019 by taking a point in a game that they looked to be cruising but ended up having to hang on for dear life after a big mistake gifted the hosts an equaliser.


28th December 2019


Southampton 1-1 Crystal Palace


St Mary’s Stadium, Britannia Road, Southampton SO14 5FP




REFEREE – Andy Madley

ASSISTANTS – Dan Robathan, Simon Beck, Darren Bond (fourth official)

VAR – Andre Marriner, Matthew Wilkes (assistant)


Yellow cards – Luka Milivojevic (31), James Ward-Prowse (78), James McArthur (84)


James Tomkins (50), Danny Ings (74)


Vicente Guaita as voted for by our wonderful followers on Twitter


The result could have been very different with the VAR decision, and very disappointing not to hold on after taking the lead, particularly in the manner that it happened. Having said that, the opposition could well have taken the points towards the end. With a mounting injury list, that is a decent result which we would have taken ahead of kick off. Very much a case of respect the point to end the year and the decade. It has been one hell of a ride!


Palace had a goal ruled out on the quarter hour mark as Max Meyer put the ball into the net but Wilfried Zaha was ajudged to have been offside by the slimmest of margins.


Bob White was a coach at Palace under the tenure of Steve Coppell and Alan Smith and will be sharing his point of view each week in our review article.

“Travelling home on the train from St Mary’s with fellow fans, there was a mixed feeling of whether today was a point gained or two points dropped. Until the Saints scored in the 74th minute through a very rare error by Kelly, we were in control of the game for long periods. A well worked set piece between Luka and Tomkins just after half-time had given us a deserved lead. However, the vagaries of VAR raised its head, or should I say arm pit again, with Meyer’s disallowed goal following an offside decision against Zaha. I always believed the original rule was ‘standing in an offside position’. So the interpretation of offside not VAR itself definitely needs an urgent review by the relevant authorities otherwise such decisions are proving detrimental to the integrity of the game per se.

Once Ings had equalised for the hosts our players, some of whom were running on empty, had their backs to the wall to preserve a precious point from the game. During the closing moments Guaita made a couple of excellent saves as Saints asked serious questions of our defence. One could be critical of Hodgson not using all three substitutions to inject more energy and tempo in the final 20-25 minutes of the match but in reality few alternative options are available on the bench with our current injury situation. Our whole team worked their proverbial socks off during their second game in 48 hours but honourable mentions should be made of Tomkins who was excellent throughout and to Guaita in those last tense 15 minutes proving how invaluable it is to have a top class custodian between the sticks. So in summary, on reflection, it was a game we should have won but one we could easily have lost! However, 27 points from 20 games is certainly a not too shabby return as we move into 2020. Happy New Year to you all!”


31 VICENTE GUAITA (8) – Brilliant save right after the equaliser and a couple more after that even after receiving some treatment. Ended up earning us a point.

34 MARTIN KELLY (6) – Howler from the stand in full back who gifted the hosts a route back into the game. You can forgive a poor game from a player like Kelly who has dug us out on more than one occassion but that mistake changed the game.

5 JAMES TOMKINS (8 – GOAL!) – Superb game and got himself on the score sheet as well, a worthy goal scorer after his performances of late.

12 MAMADOU SAKHO (7) – Good to see that partnership with Tomkins blossom once again now that the Frenchman is back fit and in the side.

44 JAIRO RIEDEWALD (6) – Another stand in full back, this time a midfielder but he did a decent job and did not become flustered after the equaliser.

4 LUKA MILIVOJEVIC (7 – BOOKED! ASSIST!) – Frustrating game from the captain who seemed agitated all afternoon. Took offence to his booking particularly in view of treatment handed to Zaha up to that point. Settled down in the second half thankfully.

22 JAMES MCCARTHY (7) – Slots into this side with minimal fuss and did what was asked of him. A player that is very protective of his teammates.

18 JAMES MCARTHUR (7 – BOOKING!) – Took one for the team with a tactical booking but did his usual job in the midfield by getting forward to support the attack and back to assist the defence.

7 MAX MEYER (6) – Very similar to the win against the Hammers, good first half but faded in the second. Got the ball in the net but goal ruled out. Replaced by 8 CHEIKHOU KOUYATE (6) on 84 minutes to provide some much needed fresh legs in the midfield to see out the game, not sure how fresh his legs were though.

11 WILFRIED ZAHA (7) – Yet again was handed some treatment throughout the game but kept his emotions in check this time to stay on the pitch. Linked up well with Ayew and between them proved a threat all afternoon.

9 JORDAN AYEW (7) – Played the lone striker well once again with his non stop running and harrassing of the opposition.


13 Wayne Hennessey, 21 Connor Wickham, 23 Victor Camarasa, 35 Sam Woods, 40 Brandon Pierrick, 41 James Daly


1 McCarthy, 2 Cedric Soares, 5 Stephens, 35 Bednarek, 21 Bertrand, 19 Boufal, 16 Ward-Prowse, 23 Hojbjerg, 22 Redmond, 9 Ings, 10 Adams

Substitutes – 28 Gunn, 3 Yoshida, 4 Vestergaard, 12 Djenepo (replaced Adams on 63 minutes), 14 Romeu, 17 Armstrong (replaced Boufal on 68 minutes), 27 Smallbone


ROY HODGSON – “I thought we did extremely well to get ourselves into the lead, especially after suffering the VAR disappointment. When the goal came, I thought we were starting to show control. But their equaliser was a technical mistake, it happens in football and it gave them a new lease of life. We talk about transfers, the chairman and Doug Freedman – there’s a genuine desire and interest to bring players in who can help us out. We had that desire in the summer and couldn’t bring it off, but it’s still there.”

RALPH HASENHUTTL – “It’s a more than deserved point. We had the much bigger chances today and it was a good save from Moussa Djenepo. We knew it was a difficult game against this opponent when you’re 1-0 down, because they sit deep. The subs gave us a little bit of a boost, particularly Djenepo on the left. We felt that we could turn the game completely after that but we’re not unhappy with the point. It was similar to the game here last season against them.”


The Who Scored man of the match was James Tomkins (8.6) while Danny Ings (6) had the most shots. The most tackles were made by Cedric Soares and James Ward-Prowse (5) and the most dribbles were from Sofiane Boufal and Wilfried Zaha (6).

  • Team rating: 6.74 – 6.81
  • Total shots: 14 – 5
  • Shots on target: 5 – 2
  • Possession: 60.4% – 39.6%
  • Pass success: 83% – 73%
  • Dribbles: 18 – 15
  • Aerials won: 20 – 23
  • Tackles: 18 – 13
  • Corners: 11 – 4
  • Dispossessed: 5 – 9


Palace end the year with 27 points from 20 games played, sitting nicely in 9th place, a point behind Manchester United in 8th and two ahead of Everton in 10th. More importantly, we start 2020 looking for three more wins to make it ten for the season and 13 points to reach that magic 40 – let’s see where we are when we get to that point.


01/01/2020 Norwich City (a)

05/01/2020 Derby County (h)

11/01/2020 Arsenal (h)


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