I usually never post articles, but since I didn't see the Palace match at all, I don't know exactly what to write about. This is of course the main reason, why I have never made any real efforts to keep this thread active. Whenever I see them play though, I have no problem writing about it, the problem is that it only happens about twice each year.
Here is an article written at: http://www.palace-eagles.com/reports/261002.html
Nationwide League. 26 Oct 02 @ Selhurst Park.
Crystal Palace - 5 (Johnson 3. 34. 55. Freedman 51. Gray 57.)
Brighton & Hove Albion - 0
Having waited for 12 years to play a match against arch-rivals Brighton, or 14 years for those pedantic enough to only consider League matches, we found the kick-off for this match delayed by 15 minutes, due in no small part to the fact that the crowd could not squeeze into the ground by the scheduled 3pm. Palace finally got the game away, and the first move forward saw Wayne Routledge fouled, the free kick going behind for a corner. Julian Gray fired the corner goalwards, and keeper Michels Kuipers tipped the ball over the top for another corner on the other side. This simply went out the other side, and again Julian lined up the corner kick; this time the ball being safely held by the visiting keeper. Wayne then fired a cross in to Andy Johnson, and for the fourth time in quick succession the ball went behind for a corner.
Julian sent the ball into the goalmouth area, Tony Popovic sent it on its' way to the goal, and it was AJ who forced the ball home to open the scoring with only three minutes showing on the clock. Tony then had to be alert to force the ball behind as Bobby Zamora looked threatening, but the resulting corner was easily cleared by the Palace defence. Kuipers then came well out of goal to close down AJ, and as the ball came back into the area Tony headed the ball just wide of the mark.
Wayne was next with a shot that flew just wide of the post before Danny Granville sent in a cross from the left that was forced behind for yet another Palace corner. With Kuipers looking decidedly uneasy at set pieces, could this be our second?
The ball pinged around the area, and was forced behind for a series of corners before Tony finally managed to get on the end of one good ball into the area, and just as we were celebrating our second of the afternoon the referee signalled a foul, and we were back where we started.
Hayden Mullins gave us all a slight heart murmur when he headed the ball back to Alex Kolinko, making his return to the side, as Alex was obviously not expecting the ball, and he had to rush to collect the ball before the Brighton attack whipped in. Graham Barrett fired the ball goalwards, held comfortably by Alex; the clearance finding Wayne in good position for a shot which once again went just wide, so we waited for the action to bring us a second goal.
AJ was caught offside, and shortly after a tackle on Wayne saw the first substitution of the afternoon, Dele Adebola coming on to replace him. A good piece of play between Dougie Freedman and Julian resulted in Danny G trying for a goal, but the keeper came well off his line to avert the danger. Zamora then missed an open goal before AJ won a corner that Julian once again stepped up to take. The ball was sent in, and AJ had little trouble heading the ball in at the near post, and this time it was certainly 2-0.
A series of free kicks to Palace came to little, the final effort being stopped by the keeper. Darren Powell kept Barrett clear of the ball in what looked a rare Brighton attack, and the half simply finished without any further raids on goal. One can assume that Trevor Francis would have been far happier than Steve Coppell in the dressing rooms, but the fans in the ground were noticeably nervous - perhaps the thoughts of Wimbledon last week, and Portsmouth previously were coming back to haunt them?
Coppell received a standing ovation when he took his place for the second half, and though the man is certainly popular we were all hoping that today just would not be his!
Zamora was caught offside in the first attacking move, and AJ couldn't quite latch on to the ball before it reached the keeper at the other end. A corner to Brighton was wasted, and as AJ ran on to the ball he was tripped in the area resulting in an immediate penalty being awarded. The Palace contingent expected AJ to take it, and thus complete his hat trick, but it was Dougie who stepped up and blasted the ball high into the back of the net - the score now reading a comfortable 3-0.
A trespasser made his way on to the pitch, and he was hauled, somewhat unceremoniously, off the ground, much to the delight of the fans on the sidelines.
From the bounced ball that got play underway once again Brighton attacked, but the ball came back to AJ who set off back into the area, and once again got pulled down for his trouble. This time the referee decided that sterner action was required, and after pointing to the penalty spot once again he showed the red card to Paul Brooker, who trooped disconsolately off. This time AJ did step up to take the kick, and firing the ball along the ground he completed his hat trick, the score now reading 4-0.
Within moments the score was increased once again. This time Julian fired the ball goalwards from the edge of the area, and it flew straight into the back of the net to see us leading 5-0, and surely there was now no way back for our visitors? With half an hour left, just how many could we score if the mood takes us?
Andrejs Rubins came on for Danny G as Charlie Oatway and Richard Carpenter made way at the other end for Paul Rogers and ex-Palace player Simon Rodger. Danny Cullip foiled Dele when he looked like he might make it six, then a rare Brighton corner went just over the top, just in case we needed a reminder that there were two teams on the pitch.
Andrejs won yet another corner, but it was cleared by the Brighton defence, and following a corner at the other end the ball was cleared to AJ who bore down on goal. From an impossible position he fired in a shot when it would have been so easy to pass the ball to an unmarked Andrejs, and our sixth goal went begging. It looked, from the next corner that a Brighton defender's hand was involved in the play, but I guess the referee must have had enough of penalties for the day, and he waved play on.
Daniel Marney came on for Barrett, and shortly after, following yet another bad tackle, AJ came off, making way for Tommy Black. Dele put in a poor shot that really deserved better, then Andrejs made a good run up the field, his cross just failing to find Dougie. Dele fired another shot over the bar, and time ran away from us, the referee signalling the end of the game just when the Palace faithfull would really have enjoyed another half an hour or so of this. I guess the Brighton players were pleased to get off the field though. Mr Coppell will have his work cut out to just ensure that Brighton stay up for another season.
Perhaps this might just be the start of a good run for Palace, maybe Walsall away on Tuesday night might tell the story?
Crystal Palace: Alex Kolinko, Danny Granville (Andrejs Rubins 58), Hayden Mullins, Tony Popovic, Darren Powell, Danny Butterfield, Shaun Derry, Julian Gray, Dougie Freedman, Andrew Johnson (Tommy Black 75), Wayne Routledge (Dele Adebola 31).
Substitutes not used: Nikolaos Michopoulos, Aki Riihilahti.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Michels Kuipers, Dean Blackwell, Danny Cullip, Kerry Mayo, Paul Watson, Richard Carpenter (Simon Rodger 59), Gary Hart, Charlie Oatway (Paul Rogers 59), Graham Barrett (Daniel Marney 74), Paul Brooker, Bobby Zamora.
Substitutes not used: John Keeley, Adam Hinshelwood.
Referee: Mr P Walton (Northamptonshire)