Saturday November 9th 2013, KO 3:15pm at Selhurst Park.
Palace (RedNBlue Halves/Blue) 0-0 Everton (White/Black), attendance 25,231.
Admission by Season ticket, Programme 3.50, Flying high fanzine 1.50, Coffee 2.20.
We knew it’d be hard, very hard. But ten games in, and with only three points on the board, even long in the tooth Palace fans could not have anticipated such a poor early return of points.
Already its been very clear that this league is so much stronger than it was eight years ago, the last time we were experiencing this division.
Ok, so many mitigating factors have not helped us in our cause. The loss of thirty goal striker Glenn Murray to long-term injury last May has been a major impact, as has the departure of his consistent supplier Wilf Zaha, Wilf currently growing cobwebs at Old Trafford.
A difficult opening fixture list, plus the additional curse of injuries to the likes of club Captain Paddy McCarthy, Jonny Williams, Yannick Bolasie, Jack Hunt and Jonny Parr. And some very bad luck and shocking refereeing decisions, the ridiculous penalty at OT for instance, and we have had a tasty recipe for failure.
But some good news on the morning of match day was the appointment of a new sporting director Iain Moody, recently removed from Cardiff City by their Asian regime, apparently much to the chagrin of Malkay Mackay. Italian and French-speaking Moody should be an excellent addition to our back room, which was clearly lacking when it came to transfer dealings this summer. With this appointment one does wonder if Mackay himself is South London bound to replace the recently departed Ian Holloway? A new manager is imminent apparently, an announcement expected some time this week, the rumoured favourite being ex Real Madrid coach Aitor Karanka. Hopefully that appointment will happen this week, allowing a week with the players before the crucial visit to Hull on Nov 23rd, and subsequent winnable fixtures that follow, Norwich (A), West Ham (H) and Cardiff (H).
Kick off was delayed fifteen minutes due to some dreadful traffic problems in waterlogged Croydon, and because of the part closure of the Holmesdale Road from the Clifton Arms pubs up to the turning for the main stand due to a large hole developing during the week. The rumour that it was created to bury some of our lame deadline day signings has been strongly refuted by the club!
Today we saw much of the same of what we’ve already seen this season. Enormous work rate, happy in giving up possession to again a superior passing team, but keeping a semblance of shape, and hoping to snatch a goal from the few opportunities we created. Frankly 5th placed Everton were disappointing and the longer the came went on, the more it looked like Palace might sneak the result.
After an impeccably observed remembrance day one minutes silence, the team was roared on again by a loud and passionate home support, but this was not enough to enable the continuing misfiring Marouane Chamakh to direct his free header between the posts rather than behind the goal, or for the excellent on the day Jerome Thomas, to keep his chip of Tim Howard the correct side of the Holmesdale Road end post.
But is was a day of positives, our fist point since our 3-1 win over Sunderland on Aug 31st. An improved defensive display, and the feeling that now eventually eleven games in we are starting to see who our best starting line up really are.
And for second home game running the players left the pitch to a standing ovation from the crowd.
And so, the hope is a new manager can inspire the players to more, and we can at least see an effort to try a make a fight of it this season, afer all, eighty-one points are still available to play for.
But finally a thanks to stand in boss Keith Millen who has steadied the ship in Holloway’s absence, and who has given some honest and refreshing after match appraisals of performances, something we have missed for some time after suffering Holloway’s rambling’s and Freedman’s clichés.
Team – Speroni 6 (little to do), Ward 7, Delaney 6, Gabbidon 7, Moxey 6, Bolasie 6, Jedinak 7, Bannon 6, Dikgacoi 6, Thomas 8, Chamakh 6.
O’Keefe for KG, 7. Jerome for Chamakh 6, Puncheon for Thomas 5.