Having fallen behind 53 minutes into yesterday’s home game against Stoke City, Palace fans everywhere could have been forgiven for fearing the worst but a brace of goals from Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Mamadou Sakho snatched all three points for Roy Hodgson’s Eagles and reignited their hopes of beating the drop.
With the consistently impressive Xherdan Shaqiri putting the Potters into an early second-half lead following a superbly struck low shot, Palace needed an almost immediate reaction and they got it when Chelsea loanee Loftus-Cheek snuck in at the back post to tuck away a teasing Andros Townsend cross and snatch momentum away from visitors.
From that point on, Hodgson’s men could smell a potential winner in the air and continued to press. There were one or two scary moments, including a ridiculous goal-line miss from Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross when it looked easier to score but in added time, Mamadou Sakho came up big, stabbing home from close-range to send Selhurst Park into raptures.
Wilfried Zaha had teased and twisted his way into a decent position on the left-hand side before crossing a ball deep into the feet of Yohan Cabaye at the far post, allowing the French international to steady himself and hit a powerful low shot off the base of the post. Luckily, the ricochet pinged straight across the face of goal, landing in front of an extremely grateful Sakho, who had the simple task of prodding it into an empty net.
After weeks of playing well and failing to take home a victory, it was incredibly ironic to have won a game in which we didn’t perform at anything close to our best but in the circumstances you won’t hear anyone of a red and blue persuasion complaining.
We now head into Tuesday’s game against Brighton knowing that another win would take us to within touching distance of escaping the drop zone, adding yet more incentive to what is an already gigantic clash in the minds of both sets of supporters.