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]
Who would have expected April to go this well? I know I didn’t, not with trips to Stoke, Watfod and Hull on the horizon. We started the month by beating Stoke, and after our solitary home game we have continued by beating Watford 2-0 at Vicarage Road yesterday.
Anyone who wasn’t there had the opportunity to see the action as the game was the featured match on The Championship this morning. Late goals from Paul Ifill and Victor Moses provided our margin of victory, leaving Watford boss Aidy Boothroyd to complain that his team “should have won 4-0.” Rrrrright.
Meanwhile Neil Warnock could only comment on how far the team has come since he took over. “I couldn’t see us scoring a goal never mind getting a win. We were in the mire but we have changed attitudes and gone on this run.” I find the reference to attitudes interesting as it is largely the same players we had prior to his arrival who have been on the pitch during the turnaround.
Watford 0-2 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
Some good viewing on Sky Sports News last night for those of us who were watching scores coming in (I can’t listen to the radio feeds, the combination of lulls in action followed by heart-stopping terror isn’t a good mix in my experience). Thanks to Victor Moses’ 55th minute equaliser we managed to get a 1-1 draw at West Brom, meaning that in our two games with them this year they haven’t been able to beat us.
Arguably with three points available for a win we’d have been better off winning one and losing one to West Brom, but in this case a draw means that we’ve been a match for the team widely considered to be the best in division (they currently sit fourth, but if they win their two games in hand they’ll be top again – providing they don’t get too caught up in a cup run I think they’re the one certainty to go up this year).
Neil Warnock summarised the game by saying, “To come to a place like this, a super stadium, the crowd gets behind the team, and to cope with that and the pressures of the situation can only stand them [the squad] in good stead. I think it’s excellent for them. I think the West Brom fans knew they were in for a game, so it was good tonight.”
West Bromwich Albion 1-1 Crystal Palace [BBC Sport]
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]