Crystal Palace climbed out of the relegation zone yesterday afternoon following a 1-0 win against Middlesbrough, thanks in large part to a stunning strike from Patrick Van Aanholt.
Having seen the game billed as an archetypal relegation six-pointer in the press all week, the pressure was really on the players to perform against Aitor Karanka’s men but thankfully, backed by genuinely vociferous support from all four sides of the ground, they delivered the perfect performance.
Whilst our fans did everything they could to lift the players spirits throughout the afternoon, it would have counted for little without three points; a tale of woe that has unfolded all too regularly over the last twelve to eighteen months. Thanks to a thunderbolt from every Palace fan’s new favourite Dutchman, our efforts were not to be in vain.
It’s easy for nerves to creep in during games of such huge significance, a fact we saw illustrated perfectly by our collapse against Sunderland a few weeks ago but yesterday, there was a marked sense of resilience to our play, working hard to break down a disciplined Boro defence and create chance after chance.
Although Van Aanholt’s winner will rightly be looked upon as a moment of individual brilliance, it was no less than we deserved as a team. For me personally, our defensive display in the second half was a source of equal satisfaction, allowing us all to believe that maybe, just maybe, we have turned a corner ahead of what is sure to be a nerve-wracking end to the Premier League season.
It really was one hell of a strike, enjoy.
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