Today is one of those days where I feel daft for worrying. Prior to kick-off at Selhurst Park and knowing that a win would assure us of a play-off place I somehow felt that we typically wouldn’t make it that easy on ourselves. But what do I know? I’ve only followed this team for eighteen years now.
So unusally for us we just about secured our win within the first ten minutes, as Clarke Carlisle was sent off in the sixth minute for a professional foul on Scott Sinclair and Ben Watson dispatched the resulting penalty. Two minutes later Victor Moses made it 2-0 and the game was effectively up.
Tom Soares made it 3-0 before half-time before Sinclair and Clinton Morrison brought the final score to 5-0.
So we’re in the play-offs having finished fifth. How big an achievement is it for Warnock? Let’s let him analyse that himself. “I can’t think of a better achievement in my career. To go from second bottom in November into the play-offs, never mind winning them, is a great effort from all the lads.”
Winning the play-offs would be even better. For that our first obstacle is Bristol City, who come to Selhurst Park next Saturday.
Crystal Palace 5-0 Burnley [BBC Sport]
At a time in the season where consistency is key Palace (of all teams!) seem to have discovered it. Yesterday we beat Scunthorpe 2-0 at Selhurst Park, with first-half goals from Tom Soares and Clinton Morrison both securing another three points for us as well as relegating the visitors out of the Championship.
Neil Warnock was a happy man after the game, saying “We all know it’s going to go right down to the wire. We badly needed the three points and I would have settled for winning 1-0 and playing poorly. As it turned out, we played very well and could have scored more goals.”
Now come another two difficult games, as in the next two weeks we visit fellow play-off candidates Watford and Hull City.
Crystal Palace 2-0 Scunthorpe [BBC Sport]
On a rare trip down South I was lucky enough to take the opportunity to get to Selhurst last night. Well, lucky if you don’t mention that it was absolutely freezing cold in SE25 last night, and probably more so if (like me) you were in the upper tier of the Holmesdale. I came away with a desperate need to thaw out, but also optimistic about our future.
Continue reading Freezing But Full of Hope
Combine a few injuries and suspensions, a player falling out of favour, a forced injection of youth and a trip to a usual bogey ground and what would you expect? Well in fairness you probably wouldn’t expect a 1-0 victory at Preston North End.
A side which featured Victor Moses in place of the suspended James Scowcroft and ahead of the disgraced Shefki Kuqi got a winner with a 76th minute header from Clinton Morrison. The performance led Neil Warnock to say, “It’s probably one of the best team performances of the season. Everyone was very good in their own right.”
Preston North End 0-1 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
And by this I mean losing 2-0 at Charlton, Luke Varney with both goals in the second half for the home team.
I’m not particularly keen on the strategy of being a goal down late on, bringing on Shefki Kuqi and taking off Clinton Morrison shortly afterwards. I know who I feel is more of a threat in front of goal. Anyway, I’ll give Warnock a mulligan on that given his recent run. However the current form guide shows us having gained one point from our last nine, something we need to improve if we want to make the play-offs.
Charlton Athletic 2-0 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
I’m getting to like Sunday mornings lately. As our run up the table has continued so we’ve featured more and more on ITV’s Championship coverage, and that continued this morning with yesterday’s 2-0 win over Bristol City at Selhurst Park. Our goals came from Clinton Morrison (via a somewhat fortunate deflection) and Mark Hudson’s late header.
Neil Warnock said afterwards, “The dressing room here is super. The formula is hard work, it isn’t rocket science. But there is a lot of ability in the team as well.”
Our next appearance before the cameras is a feature length edition, with the Sky cameras following our trip to Leicester City next Monday.
Somewhat shockingly given where we were when Warnock took over we’re now up to fifth in the table on 44 points, a mere 4 points behind second-placed Watford.
Crystal Palace 2-0 Bristol City [BBC Sport]
We all know the frustrations of ITV’s coverage of the Championship. The changing times, the condensed shows when there is a clash with a Grand Prix, and the fear that they might forget about the Championship completely if they’ve got Champions League game to promote.
(By the way, am I the only person who can’t be bothered with the Champions League? Too much hype, too much bias, same old games and outcomes… yawn.)
Anyway, to be safe each week I’ve set my Sky+ to series link The Championship, and this week I got a treat. With Palace already two up thanks to Clinton Morrison and Sean Scannell we got a spectacular third from James Scowcroft, who hit a wonderful volley to wrap up the points. Moments like this make having Sky+ completely worthwhile.
Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-3 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
My early days of supporting Palace are filled with memories of seeing us play Norwich, due to my Dad’s business connections. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen us beat them in a league fixture (although the Zenith Data Systems Cup is another matter), and they again frustrated us in yesterday’s New Year’s Day fixture at Selhurst Park.
Darel Russell opened the scoring early on for Norwich, while Clinton Morrison got our equaliser early in the second half.
Neil Warnock pointed out that we’ve now played four games in ten days, but on top of that we’re now unbeaten in thirteen games as we head to Watford in the F.A. Cup.
Crystal Palace 1-1 Norwich City [BBC Sport]
… a victory over our ex-boss who’s ugly.
Sorry, couldn’t resist.
Second half goals from Clinton Morrison and Paul Ifill did the trick for Palace, along with a great penalty save from Julian Speroni.
Even better, our former manager didn’t sound very happy. “The two goals are a joke… Clinton Morrison shouldn’t be on his own in the box unless he is offside and then we are mugged at the end of the game when we are chasing it.” Shame.
Next up is a trip to Neil Warnock’s former club, Sheffield United. For those us – like me – who enjoyed snippets of coverage today on Sky Sports News will be pleased to learn that Saturday’s game is live on Sky.
Coventry City 0-2 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
I’m pleased to type familiar sentences with different figures. Another win, another game in the unbeaten streak! Our 2-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday saw us come from 1-0 down. Our equaliser was scored by Clinton Morrison before 17 year-old Sean Scannell scored his first goal for the club a minute from time for the win.
You can tell what the result meant to Warnock from the quote, “It’s always special against Wednesday, you can tell the feeling is mutual between me and the fans and I hope they think about me on their five-hour trip home.”
Great to see some optimism around the BBS as well.
Crystal Palace 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday [BBC Sport]