A Golden Day at the Palace
Monday 17th August 2015
We could have shared ten or more goals with our hosts yesterday afternoon. But no matter how many were scored one team deserved to come away with the all important three points. And that team did.
Last week saw a sunny and highly anticipated day end in deflation and disappointment. The sunshine was there again but this week, with the added pressure of our opening day defeat, saw our journeys home accompanied with a whole bunch of different feelings and emotions. Three points on the board, we are up and running.
For those of us living in London and the south, Crystal Palace away is one of our more local trips. Looking at the fixtures these local games are pretty much the norm early doors with us only needing to leave London twice in the first 12 weeks of the season! I haven’t of course, taken our Champions League or League Cup exploits into consideration when looking at this, two competitions that will very much be more in the limelight in a couple of weeks time.
Live TV dictates any Premier League game could take place at one of approximately six different time slots over the course of Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Great for the couch based supporters out there but not easy when it comes to making plans as an attending fan. For all the negatives however (and there are many), differing days and kick-offs do also have some advantages. We all look back fondly to times when every weekend game kicked off at 3pm on a Saturday. And I believe the majority of us really enjoy them on the relatively rare occasion when they happen now. But I do ask myself if that is because such a day and kick off time has joined all the other potential slots as quite a novelty.
If like they used to a few years ago every game was at the same time and you chose to attend every fixture, it would pretty much wipe out every single Saturday for 9 months of the year! At least with the current set up we not only get some free Saturdays but can, as with our next league fixture at home to Liverpool, get whole weekends become unexpectedly available for activities away from the beautiful game. And having been the situation for a number of years now I have not only got used to it but have grown to kinda like it too.
Getting up ridiculously early on a Sunday morning is not something I relish or enjoy doing like most of us but a lunchtime kick-off like Sunday’s at Palace is not my least favourite. That ‘accolade’ goes to 4pm on a Sunday afternoon for me. Always a late late day as a result and hitting the sack knowing when you awake its back to the daily routine of work always makes that kick-off slot a little bit depressing!
And getting up early on a Sunday this time of the year is also far easier than in the depths of Winter starting warm on sunny as we headed off to Selhurst Park was another bonus.
Personally there was a good crowd of us Maidstone Gooners who gathered in what has become our usual Palace away haunt and all in all it made for a thoroughly entertaining build up. A pre-match routine that also sees what is quite a battle to reach your ‘seat’ in older and traditional stadia such as Selhurst Park. Believe me I like all of us have nothing but great memories of the various old stadia we used to visit week in week out but we naturally only ever remember the good bits. The crowded and chaotic turnstiles, severe lack of space once through, toilets lacking in number and accessibility and viewing that can be as poor as looking through a letter box are all aspects we tend not to describe when talking about the ‘good old days’!
There is no doubt however, those that still exist do feel far more atmospheric than some of the newer locations we visit these days and with a London derby and rivalry that seemed to intensify after we signed Wrighty back in the early nineties, it promised to be a noisy and passionate couple of hours.
If we lacked a sense of sharpness and urgency last week we certainly couldn’t be accused of that on Sunday afternoon. The first quarter of an hour in fact, could and arguably should have seen us take a 2 or 3 goal lead, always a promising situation on one hand but one we hope doesn’t come back to haunt us as the game approaches its conclusion.
It was crucial I feel that we made that early dominance count and when that opener did eventually arrive it was a thing of real beauty. An awesome strike from our big centre-forward and we had our first, and long overdue jostle of the season.
Palace’s equaliser was disappointing. That might be an obvious statement but feeling like you should be 2 or 3 up and finding yourselves level all of a sudden feels like a real kick in the stomach. As a result it was a relatively deflated away end during the half time break.
Despite always looking dangerous going forward our hosts enjoyed some good chances too in the second period but once again our goal came at a good time. And that lead, however fragile it looked on occasion, was just about enough to give us the three points our performance deserved.
From a very tricky away day, that will definitely do.
Next we come to one of the most attractive fixtures on the calendar in any season, Liverpool at home. Our results over the last two seasons alone show just how unpredictable this game can be. We’ve been well beaten……and we’ve inflicted the same on them, all within a couple of years.
Hopefully we have got last week well and truly out of our system and we can now build on yesterday’s big three points.
On Saturday…..if games were all at 3pm…..I would be in London N5. As a result of TV’s coverage I get to revel in England’s Ashes glory on a day at The Oval.
See you all Monday night.