sports gazette

Personal best: 5 best games where we didn't win

Published: 30 May 2017

Crystal Palace is an impossible football club where nothing is impossible.

Contradiction noted, but Palace is a club where all extremes of emotion collide and unravel, where the mere notion of victory isn’t always what makes this football club what it is.

In fact, this mere writer, who like everyone else has favourites matches and moments, has five stand out games that are the most fond of memories. The bizarre factor is that all these are games where the result didn’t end with victory.

Here are the top five games in recent time where the victory didn’t derail from the memory.

Crystal Palace 3-3 Liverpool 5th May 2014

The battle of Crystanbul was a night that all Palace fans will never forget. There was nothing other than pride to play for. Our positon in the top flight was assured, meaning Crystal Palace were guaranteed a second successive top flight season for the first time in the English Premiership.

However, pride was seemingly lost as goals from Joe ‘The Welsh Pirlo’ Allen, Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez saw Liverpool take a commanding 3-0 lead. Step forward Damien Delaney, whose blistering strike (more of a cross, but reads better this way) found the top corner of the Liverpool net.

Yannick Bolasie’s annihilation of then Liverpool full back Glen Johnson was so painful, that the England right back is still having therapy. This led to Dwight Gayle poking in from close range, before Glenn Murray expertly chested to Gayle, who struck home to send the Eagles fans into rapture. That eruption of noise will forever stay in the minds of all those who were at Selhurst that night.

Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 Crystal Palace 2nd May 2010

Administration had dominated the season of 2009/10 as Steve Parish and Co were yet to make an appearance. It is almost certain that this result lined up the sequence of events which subsequently saw CPFC2010 take control and save Palace from oblivion. Unjustly confounded to the bottom region of the league,

Palace needed a point to survive, whilst the hosts needed a victory to stay in the division. A headed goal from Alan Lee saw Palace take the lead, however a mistake from Danny Butterfield saw Leon Clarke capitalise and score. Then stepped up Darren Ambrose, who in a short stint at Selhurst saw a host of vital goals come his way in red and blue (Manchester United away in the cup, Aston Villa at home just two to come to mind).

Palace youth graduate Sean Scannell crossed to Ambrose who stroked in from close range. Despite a late equaliser, Palace held on and the contrast of emotions as Palace survived and Sheffield perished was almost beyond belief.

Crystal Palace 1-1 Arsenal 6th November 2004

Back in the days when Arsenal were in contention for the English Premier League (cue Arsenal pandemonium) Palace faced a side consisting of the likes of Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp, Robert Pires to name but a few. Newly promoted Palace seemed to have no chance against a side of such class and credentials.

Alas, Finnish favourite Aki Riihilahti poked home from yards out after the infamous Vassilis Lakis crossed from the wing. Why infamous you ask? Moments later, the Greek winger missed a sitter from yards out that would have put Palace in touching distance of a victory against the Gunners. Fun fact, if Palace had won that game, and all other games stayed the same, Palace would have survived relegation. Happy reading.

Crystal Palace 1-2 Manchester United 21st May 2016

Three minutes. You can do a lot in three minutes. That was all the time we had to take in what had just happened. A lofted ball in the box found Jason Puncheon. Not for one second did anyone expect him to take the ball down, compose himself in-front of 90,000 people and rifle the ball past the David De Gea to put Crystal Palace ahead in the F.A Cup final.

That’s right, for all of three minutes, Crystal Palace were beating Manchester United in the F.A Cup final. What a three minutes. Sometimes I imagine the questionable referee of that day (I’m still too hurt to mention his name) blew the whistle for full time at this point and we won the cup. Forever a dreamer.

Reading 3-0 Crystal Palace 11th September 2010

Quite simple, because we were rubbish and it puts everything into perspective. Also, because a gentleman in the seat next door fell asleep, which was noticed by the Reading supporters who started chanting “You’re so s**t you fell asleep.” That’s the thing with Palace, you need a strong sense of humour to survive. 

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