Walking into the Sports Cafe in Glasgow tonight to meet BBSers Marshy and Gosling I can’t say I was particularly optimistic about the ninety minutes that was ahead of us. That didn’t really improve when the sleepy abode refused to turn down the music and let us watch the game with commentary.
At least our evening took a turn for the better when Ben Watson took advantage of some defensive uncertainty to head into an open goal from outside the penalty area on 24 minutes. We went into the break 1-0 up on the night, back level on aggregate.
The second half became a nervy, yet exciting affair, and 18 minutes from time we were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead after Tom Soares was upended in the box by Nick Carle. Just like Saturday Ben Watson took the penalty, but unlike Saturday this time he succeeded in only smacking the ball against the post. It was inches away from being a perfect penalty, but it wasn’t good enough.
(N.B. When you don’t want to watch something on a TV during a sporting event don’t go to a Sports Cafe. It’s impossible to miss any action. Trust me, I tried.)
We were still trying to win the game though, with a very attacking lineup on the field. However towards the end of the game we were tiring, and the game was nearly settled in normal time when City’s Lee Trundle hit the bar when he tried to lob Julian Speroni.
In extra time we appeared to visibly tire. Soon enough Trundle gave City the lead with a thunderous left foot volley, before Michael McIndoe sealed in the game in the second half with a howitzer of a free kick.
As the game petered away at least we had a team we could be proud of. At this point though I’d like to say how well Ben Watson played. He was simply immense, covering every blade of grass and being at the centre of our best attacks. If does leave in the summer (he is probably our most valuable asset at this point) I hope he isn’t remembered for the penalty miss, because he deserved far better than that on this night.
Bristol City 2-1 Crystal Palace (AET, City win 4-2 on aggregate) [BBC Sport]
Great, just like two years ago. Another bad time to pick to play badly at home in the first leg of a play-off semi final.
The good news? Despite our poor performance at least a 2-1 deficit is retrievable, unlike the mountain we gave ourselves to climb against Watford.
Texting my best friend back and forth during the first half we both agreed that Bristol City looked like the better team, and early in the second half that proved to be the case when Louis Carey gave City the lead from a cleverly worked free kick.
We didn’t appear to be troubling City too much, but then in the closing minutes came a lifeline. With Jose Fonte called upon to take up an emergency striker’s role he earned a penalty when he was brought down by Carey. Ben Watson – as has become his custom – stuck the penalty away well.
Unfortunately that wouldn’t be enough, as in injury time City’s David Noble scored the goal of his life from fully thirty yards, giving Julian Speroni no chance.
It isn’t an ideal situation, but at least we’re within touching distance. However to get anything at Ashton Gate we’re going to have to play a whole lot better than we did today.
Crystal Palace 1-2 Bristol City [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
Did you ever play football at school, and continued to play past an end-of-break bell until someone scored? Well something similar happened to Palace tonight.
With a supposed four minutes of time added on played and Palace leading 1-0 referee Richard Beeby allowed play to continue, letting Bristol City take a corner which was headed in by Jamie McCombe.
After a poor first half we were good value for our lead. We played positively in the second half, taking the lead through Lee Hills’ superbly-taken volley (his first goal for the club). While Bristol City had a lot of possession they didn’t threaten very often, although Julian Speroni did have to make a fabulous double-save from Bradley Orr’s controversially-awarded penalty.
Ultimately it is a good result, but the ending left more than a bitter taste in the mouth. When the overdue final whistle went Neil Warnock went onto the pitch in an attempt to keep Palace players away from the referee, where he presumably also made a few points on their behalf.
Bristol City 1 – 1 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
Did I say last week that we’ve taken one point from our last three games? Let’s make that one point from our last four games, following Ipswich’s 1-0 win at Selhurst Park last night.
To make things worse, the winning goal has been described as “Danny Haynes’ fortuitous goal”. Wonderful. When was the last time we had a goal deflect in off one of our own player’s heads? (And no, Andy Johnson’s goal against Liverpool in 2005 was intended, therefore it doesn’t count.)
And as if losing 1-0 to Ipswich didn’t sound familiar enough then there was also the matter of Julian Speroni dodging another red card. This game is done and dusted, but thankfully there is no suspension to deal with as well.
It didn’t sound as if the gaffer was too pleased though. “I thought one or two experienced players let us down. I was disappointed with certain areas tonight and I’ve let the players know.” This season is starting to look like one where we’ll finish in mid-table.
Crystal Palace 0-1 Ipswich Town [BBC Sport]
Funny feeling, having a late lunch on Saturday with a Palace win already secure. Neil Warnock’s hyped return (by the Sky coverage anyway) to Bramall Lane resulted in a 1-0 win thanks to James Scowcroft’s neatly taken goal in the dying stages of the first half.
Warnock was gracious in victory, stating “I had a fantastic welcome and couldn’t have asked for anything more.” He also threw out the first mention of a phrase we didn’t expect to hear this season: play-offs.
Oh, and Lee Hendrie is a nasty thug. Don’t expect Palace fans to forget you leaving your studs in on Julian Speroni in a hurry.
Sheffield United 0-1 Crystal Palace [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]
Almost three full months after number 99 Clinton Morrison finally reached the 100 goal mark in a Palace shirt, heading in Mark Kennedy’s cross in the dying minutes to secure a 1-1 draw with QPR.
It had almost happened earlier in the game, but at that time Clinton’s effort past Lee Camp was ruled out for offside. At the other end QPR boss Luigi De Canio credited Julian Speroni’s performance for keeping Palace in the game.
After the game Neil Warnock said it was the first time that the players have been on the receiving end of his temper, and the result seemed to make it worthwhile. Our current situation depends upon your point of view. We’re unbeaten in our last three games and just one win away from a jump of several places in the table, but conversely we’re yet to win under Warnock and remain second-bottom, ahead of only Norwich.
For one day though I’m going to try and forget about that. The day, and the milestone, belong to Clinton Morrison.
Crystal Palace 1-1 QPR [BBC Sport]
Clint’s 100 goal countdown [cpfc.org]
Ugh. Horrific game. We were dismal, second to everything, not much effort, it really looked as if a lot of players didn’t particularly care about the result and it was probably down to Julian Speroni alone that we didn’t suffer a heavier defeat. All this on a day when we could have gone equal top of the table, not that you’d have thought that on this performance.
Today was one of those games which really frustrated me, with the final straw being the substitution of Clinton Morrison when we were looking for a goal. Who else in our colours (which somehow continue to look worse and worse on each viewing recently) is more likely to score a goal for us?
Not a good day to be a Palace fan. That took a good forty-five minutes of dog walking to wind down from.