After 88 minutes of yesterday’s game against Watford, Palace fans were collectively staring down the barrel of a gun but thanks to the drive of Wilfried Zaha, the mood turned to almost unparalleled jubilation just four minutes later.
There’s no point in trying to sugar-coat things, for the vast majority of last night’s encounter, Roy Hodgson’s men were extremely poor. Having fallen behind to a third minute Daryl Janmaat header, we looked criminally off the pace in large spells, struggling to string passes together, thanks in no small part to the high-pressing style favoured by Hornets boss Marco Silva.
For me though, the combination of Julian Speroni’s superb save to deny Richarlison and Tom Cleverley’s dismissal for a second bookable offence provided the platform upon which Zaha climbed and took us to an improbable and utterly wonderful victory.
The equaliser came about after a powerful low drive stung the palms of Gomes, allowing substitute Bakary Sako to fly in on the rebound and prod it home at the second attempt. There was relief everywhere but also a sense, thanks to the sending off that had taken place just moments before, that Watford were there for the taking.
As a consequence, the irrepressible Zaha continued to probe, getting his reward in remarkable fashion when some absolutely glittering footwork saw him waltz beyond Janmaat and put a ball back across goal, where it found the feet of a gleeful James McArthur who directed it into the far corner of the net. Absolute pandemonium ensued in the seconds after, as you can see on the link attached at the top of the page.
Last night’s game is one which will stay with me for a long time. Five minutes prior taking the lead we had been behind and rooted to the very foot of the Premier League table. Now, we’re out of the bottom three and dreaming of survival once again.
Football really is the greatest game in the world.