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Crystal Palace 2011

South London welcomed Football Aid to Selhurst Park on a warm and sunny springtime evening. The fans were out in force for what was set to be a thoroughly enjoyable encounter. The Palace players would be looking to put in a better performance than their heroes managed only days earlier on the last day of the season.

Thursday 12th May
Crystal Palace Home vs Crystal Palace Away
Kick Off: 18.00
Match Officials: Peter Munt, Keith Glover, Gordon Manning & Chris Evans
Legends: Jim Cannon

It was the Away team wearing all white who would get the game underway. In the opening exchanges neither side managed to impose themselves on the game. Both teams probed for a way through to goal but neither team managed to create any clear cut chances.

It was the Away side who looked to have broken the deadlock after 25 minutes. Jones knocked the ball over for Holah who managed to chip the ball past the outrushing keeper leaving Roussounis to smash the ball into the unguarded net. Despite wild celebrations the centre forward failed to see the assistant had flagged for offside.

Both teams were battling hard in midfield to try and get a grip on the game but it was the Away side who again almost took the lead. Jones did well down the right hand side, managing to create an angle for himself and rifle a cross in front of the face of goal but no one was able to get the vital touch.

The Away side were beginning to get the better of things as Jones went close minutes later. Holah drove down the left flank and his pin point accurate cross found Jones who attempted to find the bottom right hand corner only to be denied by Ross who was at full stretch.

A competitive first half ended 0-0 but despite the scoreline, the fans had been treated to some very entertaining football so far.

Half-Time: Crystal Palace Home 0-0 Crystal Palace Away

The Home side opted to shoot from kick off but the ambitious effort was wide of the mark. The Away side would score from the goal kick. Morgan kicked deep into opposition territory where the flick on broke nicely for Terry Deacon who made no mistake in firing the ball past Ross in goal. A clinical finish from the substitute. (0-1)

The Away side were full of confidence now and almost doubled their advantage seconds later. The Home side gave the ball away cheaply on the halfway line. A wicked cross took a deflection and bounced kindly in the box but neither Houghton or Deacon were able to show enough composure and put the ball away.

Shortly after the Home side were offered a way back into the match when Hickman looked to have handled the ball in the box. Official Gordon Manning showed no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Ruston stepped up for the Home team but his effort was well saved by Morgan.

The Away side were given another opportunity to extend their lead further. The Home side could only manage to clear a corner to the edge of the box as far as Imhoff who showed great skill with a terrific turning shot with his back to goal. The big centre half was unlucky to see the Home keeper Ross in great form who, with a fine reflex save tipped the ball over the bar.

It was the Away side who continued to dominate proceedings. They created numerous half chances from corners and also showed they were not afraid to try from distance going close on more than one occasion. Not to be outdone the Home side also tried their luck from distance. Ruston tested the keeper from thirty yards after showing great skill to take the ball past his marker.

Midway through the second half the Away side almost added another after a combination of terrific team play and a fantastic solo effort. In a fashion resembling Barcelona the Away side built their move from the back passing the ball in triangles leaving the Home team chasing shadows. Deacon showed terrific vision to play a marvellous cross field ball to Imhoff. The big man ran from inside his own half to strike a vicious effort on goal which flew narrowly wide.

It wasn’t long until the Away side grabbed a vital second goal. Matthew Hilder pounced after Ross could only punch clear to the edge of the box. Hilder displayed a nice touch before firing the ball past the keeper who was in no mans land. Hilder would have no doubt enjoyed his finish but spent a worrying couple of minutes getting treatment as he looked to have hurt himself in the process of scoring. Fortunately club physio Jordon Reece was on hand to get the goal scorer back on his feet. (0-2)

The Away side looked dominant and it was difficult to see how the Home team were going to get themselves back into the game. They were denied by the offside flag from the assistant once again as Jones lofted a pass through to Holah who should great technique chipping it over the out rushing Ross.

The match was now into the final stages when Holah again came close to adding a third for the Away side. He showed terrific skills displaying a series of twists and turns in the box evading the defence before creating an angle to shoot. He fired low but the ball we knocked behind from Ross who got down well to stop.

Time was now running out for the Home side who passed up a good opportunity through Stygal. The defence switched off for a moment as the failed to track the run who Ruston who did well to fire the ball over to the back post, Stygal was unlucky and just couldn’t get the right connection and the ball flew narrowly wide of the post.

With precious little time left on the clock the Home side were to be handed another life line in a move that started with good defensive work from Withall and Nania at the back cumulating in Diggory being tripped by Longworth in the box. The Away side could have no complaints and Evans pointed to the spot. This time Steven Diggory stepped up and made no mistake in slotting the ball low into Morgan’s right hand corner. (1-2)

The Home side were to prove their goal was not simply just a consolation as Alan Ruston scored a well deserved equaliser. Ruston had worked tirelessly all afternoon and thoroughly deserved his goal. Braid did well to win the ball in midfield before holding off his marker and crossing a teasing ball into the box. Sharp showed the deftest of touches teeing up Ruston who blasted the ball home prompting jubilant scenes of celebration for the Home side. (2-2)

The referee blew for full time just a minute later to end what was an excellent game at Selhurst Park. While the Away side dominated for long periods the Home side never gave up and battled to the end and secured a fantastic come back.

Full-Time: Crystal Palace Home 2-2 Crystal Palace Away

Man of the Match Home: Mark Ross
Man of the Match Away: Gary Jones
Moment of the Match: Panayotis Roussounis

Home Team: Ross, McLoughlin, Diggory, Mathieson, Kimber, Thorne, Stygal, Sharp, Tyrell, Ruston (subs) Nania, Withall, Hickman, Braid

Mascot: Oscar Ruston

Away Team: Morgan, Longworth, Imhoff, Walder, Holah, Hilder, Houghton, Jones, Roussounis. Kimber, Phillips, Hickman, Deacon

Mascot: Cameron Holah