Safe for another Season
So May started off with an away trip to North London playing Spurs at White Hart Lane. We came into the game after an eventful 4-3 win over the soon to be European Conference League winners West Ham. Roy started with an unchanged side with Tyrick Mitchell marking his 100th appearance. Both sides came out strongly with Spurs needing the win to go 7th and increase their chances of a European place. Palace were looking to go up the table with a strong finish to the season.
It was Richarlison who had the first real chance but Johnston managed to get a leg to the ball to stop him. The offside flag went up so it wouldn't have counted anyway. Palace had their chances and were unlucky when Olise found Joel Ward at the back post from a corner, but the ball went straight to the keeper. It was a very open game with both sides asking questions. Harry Kane shot over the bar after a lovely ball from Hjojblerg. Then Wilf got the ball on the wing and moved into the box after some top footwork. Sadly there was no one there to take advantage of his lay off.
Then in first half stoppage time Porro had too much space on the right wing and his cross was headed in by Kane to head into the net so we went in for the break 1 nil down. The second half was much the same as the first with both teams playing some good football but not being able to take their chances and the game ended 1 nil to Spurs.
Crystal Palace welcome Bournemouth
Next up was our home game against Bournemouth with both sides now safe it was a case of just getting the points on the board. Yet again Roy started with the same side except that Will Hughes came in for the injured Jeffery Schlupp. I thought Palace started the stronger with some great football in midfield and mainly controlling the game. Wilf was very unlucky not to score from an Olise cross but he put the ball just wide of the post.
Then five minutes from the break Wilf showed brilliant skills to leave three Bournemouth players standing before sending a neat pass into the box. Ayew flicked the ball onto Eze to smash the ball into the net putting us 1-0 up. Not long after we were very unlucky not to double the score as Wilf once again went on one of his runs after an excellent pass from Andersen. But he struck the ball wide of the post again.
After the break Palace once again came out the stronger side. Will Hughes from the edge of the box was very unlucky not to get his first goal in a Palace shirt forcing a good save from Neto.
Six minutes into the half Wilf went down with what looked like a hamstring injury with Edouard coming on in his place. Straight away I thought that might be the last we see of Wilf in a Palace shirt as his contract has come to an end. It was good to see him getting a standing ovation from the crowd, his name ringing around the stadium. If he does leave I wish him all Thebes and will thank him for all his hard work in Red and Blue.
Shortly after this Olise once again had the ball at his feet and after some excellent work found Eze who brought the ball down with a skilful touch and blasted the ball into the top corner putting us 2-0 up and above Chelsea in the table.Joel wards off Fulham
After Bournemouth there was another short trip across London for our final away game against Fulham. With Wilf still injured Edouard started and Joel Ward captained the team. Yet again it was a game where both sides were safe and I must congratulate Fulham who have had a really strong season back in the premiership.
It was really one of those games where both teams cancelled each other out in both attack and defence. In the 34th minute Edouard broke the deadlock to make it 1-0 to Palace. It's good to see him enjoying his football now and even better to see him getting on the score sheet. I think he may be one to watch next season as a replacement for Wilf.
The game really continued in much the same manner up until five minutes into added time when Mitchell gave away an unfortunate penalty to see Mitrovic, on his first game back at Craven Cottage after a long suspension, step up and make it 1 -1 with almost the final kick of the half.
The second half started with both sides looking for the winner, then in the 61st minute Fulham got a free kick on the right wing. Fulham took the kick at least a yard in front of where the ref had marked and that man Mitrovic rose to head the ball into the net making it 2-1 to them
The Palace fans aimed shouts of 'you don't know what you're doing" at the ref who, I found out later, was in charge of a premiership game for the first time. It was encouraging to see that the players fought hard for the equaliser. We got our reward with only seven minutes left on the clock after a patient team build up ending with a quality finish from Joel Ward. We left Craven Cottage with the point which all in all seemed a very fair result.
The Karen Green Memorial Shield 2022-2023
So after what seemed a very long season it was down to our last game at home to Nottingham Forest. I arrived early for this one as I had to present the Karen Green Memorial Shield to the CPFC Disabled Supporters Association's Player of the Season as voted for by the DSA members. The winner with over 40% of the vote was Eberichi Eze. It was rather a tearful occasion as it was exactly a year to the day since Karen had passed away. I'm sure she would have been looking down on us with great pride at having an award named after her.
See about the award here: https://www.cpfcdsa.org/cpfc-dsa-announce-their-palace-player-of-the-season
Fun in the sun with Forest
And so to our game against Nottingham Forest. Of course this was a sell out fixture, in all parts of the ground. I must say the Forest fans were in a real party mood after securing their place in the premier league after their first season back. The club had announced the new kit for next season the day before and the players wore it for the game. I must say I was rather surprised to see it already on sale in the Club Shop as well. I don't know what you think but I quite like it. I can't wait for the away strip be announced.
The Fanatics put on a stunning display to commemorate Maxi Jazz covering the whole of the Holmesdale end. I even saw tweets from Forest fans saying how good it was. Well done the HF.
As you might expect, with nothing resting on the game, both sides came out with the intention of just enjoying themselves or so it seemed to me,but then who can blame them. Palace started the better with Olise testing out the returning Wayne Hennessey but unfortunately it was an easy save for him to make. Forest also had an early chance with Boly thankfully missing out on a header.
Despite having most of the game we went behind half an hour into the game when Gibbs-White played a long ball into the path of Taiwo Awowiyi to slot the ball pass Sam Johnstone. Although Crystal Palace had a couple more chances to level the score we went into the break 1-0 down.
The second half started much the same as the first with Palace having the upper hand. It was good to see James McArthur come on for his last appearance in a Palace shirt, he got a brilliant reception from the fans.
Despite Palace piling on the pressure we had to wait until the 66th minute to draw level. After some skills from Olise he sent the ball into the box for none other than Will Hughes to head his first goal for the club. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. With us finishing in 11th place above Chelsea.
After the game the players did their usual lap of appreciation. It was good to see Jimmy Mac and Luka both get such a loud round of applause for all their hard work at Crystal Palace. I think they will both be missed.
It only remains for me to wish you all a fantastic summer. I look forward to seeing you all again next season at Crystal Palace.
Chairman CPFC DSA