Yesterday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham United was a true roller-coaster of emotions from beginning to end, capped off by a moment of sheer genius by a certain Wilfried Zaha.
Having fallen into a 2-0 deficit by the time Bobby Madley brought the opening 45 minutes to a close, fans could have been forgiven for thinking that the Eagles were dead and buried but to the credit of the players and their manager Roy Hodgson, they came out for the second half with a renewed sense of vigour and got their rewards with what was practically the very last kick of the game.
Despite having what looked to be a very feasible penalty shout turned down when Jose Fonte clipped Wilfried Zaha’s knee with the scores still locked at 0-0, the Hammers broke with an impressive counter-attack, allowing renowned finisher Javier Hernandez to bag the opening goal of the contest with a sublime strike using the outside of his foot.
Shortly after that, Palace surrendered possession in the middle of the park following an under-hit pass from Luka Milivojevic, giving Andre Ayew space to attack Scott Dann and James Tomkins on the run, before unleashing a thunderbolt into the roof of Julian Speroni’s net from the edge of the Holmesdale penalty area.
Palace pulled one goal back extremely quickly after the interval when Andros Townsend was brought down in the box, giving Milivojevic the chance to cooly tuck away a penalty but for the remainder of the game, Hodgson’s men bombarded Joe Hart’s goal with next to nothing to show for their efforts.
Cabaye saw a shot cannon back off the inside of the England man’s post before being denied after a superb curling free-kick was touched out of play for a corner, Zaha had two stinging shots parried away and Tomkins saw a goal-bound header tipped onto the bar before Sako agonisingly scooped the rebound over for a goal-kick from all of a yard. Luckily, it wasn’t to end in bitter disappointed for the home side.
Having been fed a ball of the left-hand side of the box, Zaha teased his way towards goal before squirming away from the touchline, creating an angle for himself and sending a superbly directed shot into the far corner of Hart’s net, sparking scenes of wild celebration across the ground. It was no less than Palace deserved for their efforts but when any goal arrives in the seventh minute of injury time, it’s always going to have caused some agony along the way.
Let’s hope that Wilf’s leveller gives the players the momentum they need to kick on from here and make a serious fist of survival. It felt like a massive moment in the ground, both for us as supporters and the players who were celebrating so rapturously on the pitch.