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]
Well, perhaps it was a bit much to expect us to win all our games in April, not that it makes today’s 2-1 defeat at automatic promotion-chasing Hull City any more bearable. That Hull’s winner from Ian Ashbee came in the dying minutes, and that it seemed to be so celebrated by Sky Sports News report Peter Beagrie really didn’t help matters. Earlier had Scott Sinclair scored Palace’s equaliser.
So what do we need to do now? Well the maths are simple and our destiny is entirely in our own hands. If we beat Burnley next Sunday at Selhurst Park we’re in the play-offs. Neil Warnock mused, “The pleasing thing is that it is still in our hands to make the play-offs. No-one can complain if we don’t make the play-offs, because we’ve given it a fantastic shot.”
Which I suspect doesn’t mean that he’ll be anything other than disappointed if we fail to win our last game of the season.
Hull City 2-1 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
Good evening everyone, got your breath back after that frightening second half?
Yikes, that took some sitting through. I was pretty pleased to be 2-0 up at half-time after goals from Tom Soares (ably setup by Scott Sinclair) and Jose Fonte (with a scorcher of a volley), although I might have changed that view after seeing us sit back and invite Stoke to attack us during the second half.
As it turned out all Stoke could muster in reply was their own thunderbolt from Glen Whelan, and while that provided us with an even more uncomfortable last few minutes it wasn’t enough to stop us from leaving the Britannia Stadium with three points.
Neil Warnock summarised the result by saying, “It’s not easy coming to Stoke, you know you are going to be very physically tested throughout. I thought we played some great football at times and we scored a couple of good goals too, which helped.”
Best of all, we’re back in the play-off places. With 4 games to go can we stay there?
Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
Call it a personal thing, but when we don’t beat the team which was promoted through the play-offs I tend to think we’re underachieving. And despite what Neil Warnock claimed were two certain penalties we were denied a victory against last year’s league one play-off winners, Blackpool.
Today also saw the debuts of loan signings Scott Sinclair (from Chelsea – he was also booked for a supposed dive which Warnock disputed), Kyel Reid (West Ham) and Nathan Ashton (Fulham – he was substituted at half-time after taking a knock in the first half).
Unfortunately we now only have five games left, and three of those are away against teams in the top six. These games are at Hull (April 26th), Watford (19th) and Stoke City (next Monday night, live on Sky). It isn’t the run-in you want when you need points to break into the top-six.
Crystal Palace 0-0 Blackpool [BBC Sport]