Monday, 23 January 2017

Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace 0-1 Everton

21st January 2017

I was touch ambivalent about visiting Selhurst Park, I have to say.  For although Crystal Palace FC frequently proclaims itself a community club – it was clearly a club which looked after its own family first.  A couple of years ago with Son and I planning a London football trip, I had emailed the club asking about last minute tickets for a match (I cannot recall against whom), and they did not even bother to reply.  

And for this afternoon, I had had to do the irksome thing of first purchasing a (not cheap) Club Membership, before they would let me buy any tickets at all.  Although I acknowledge such a state of affairs is far from unique – I can recall having to do the same for my one-off visits to both The Emirates Stadium and Carrow Road.

That being said, I had heard a lot spoken about the much vaunted atmosphere (raucous and intimidating in equal measures) Selhurst Park is renowned for, so felt this would make up.  But, perhaps a consequence of Swansea’s win over Liverpool earlier in the day, which had dropped Crystal Palace into one of the relegation spots, Selhurst Park was a decidedly subdued arena this afternoon.

Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace.

Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace.

Facade to the Holmesdale Road End.

Don'tcha just love Restricted Views?
This one (mine) was not even labelled as such when purchased - although,
to be fair, by leaning back I could see the whole of the goal.

Everton players warming-up beforehand.

I rather liked this message - as did Pete The Eagle, I think.

Crystal Palace v Everton  - January 2017

Arthur Wait Stand - named for a former Chairman of the club.

A pleasingly rowdy rabble in the front left comer of the impressive Holmesdale Road End apart, the home support appeared a sedate and studious lot.  Although the noisy chaps did briefly persuade some their neighbours in the Arthur Waite Stand to indulge in some Call-and-Response chanting.  But that was as “raucous and intimidating” as things got and, certainly in both the Main Stand where we were seated, and in the adjacent Whitehorse Lane Stand, one could have heard a pin (well, perhaps not a pin – a moderately-sized spanner, say) drop during much of proceedings.

Which was a bit of a disappointment; as the scene had been perfectly set beforehand with a rousing London Calling, blasted out on a crystal-clear PA system which would have done justice to a moderately sized rock venue.

The visiting Everton support, of course, generally kept up a pleasing din, periodically jacking up their decibel levels considerably.   But even this lot were oddly passive at times – a consequence I am sure of a combination of the bitter cold, and the fact the fare being served up was for the most part, less than wonderful.

With each side employing their own BBB (Bloody Big Belgian) up front, much of the action appeared to consist of long-balls and the occasional cross aimed the direction of the respective heads of Messrs Benteke and Lukaku.  I did feel quite sorry for both of them at times, as they each forlornly awaited a decent ball to be played into them.

Lukaku did receive one, as early as the 8th minute, from Irishman James McCarthy, which he thudded off the Palace woodwork, whilst Benteke's only real chance came with second-half header which Everton 'keeper Joel Robles turned onto a post.

Damien Delaney watches the Everton players celebrate Seamus Coleman's winner.
I am not sure where Wayne Hennessey has got to. 

Toffees' fans raise a stink.

But it was the visitors' Seamus COLEMAN (looking marginally offside – we were right in line to see) who won the match with just three minutes remaining, to a backdrop of boos from the home support who felt the match should have been halted to allow treatment to injured debutant Jeffrey Schlupp.  But the referee was quite correct not to halt the action for, not only was Schlupp merely suffering a bout of cramp, but had rolled himself back onto the field of play after initially keeling over behind the goal-line.

The little scamp.

Mason Holgate's yellow card was the only one of the match.

Crystal Palace v Everton  - January 2017

Crystal Palace v Everton  - January 2017

Holmesdale Road End

Romelu Lukaku & James Tomkins.

Crystal Palace v Everton  - January 2017


Crystal Palace v Everton  - January 2017

Lukaku & Tomkins again.

Panorama of Selhurst Park.

Panorama of Selhurst Park.

Panorama of Selhurst Park.

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