Job done at Palace after tricky start

City tonight weathered an early barrage from Championship side Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park to eventually win quite comfortably to progress into the third round of the Carling Cup.

Making just one change from the team who started against Wolves last Saturday, newboy Joleon Lescott replacing the departing Richard Dunne at centre-half, we were very much under the kosh during the first period, especially for the first quarter of an hour in which Palace might've scored a couple of goals. The lively Victor Moses gave Micah Richards a tough time down our right, Freddie Sears' movement caused problems on several occasions and Shay Given was called upon to make a handful of terrific saves.

We did occasionally threaten ourselves before the break, but looked quite sloppy in possession and couldn't really get our passing game going. In truth, we weren't getting a lot of help from the officials, the linesman incorrectly ruling us offside three times, one occasion in particular seeing Robinho well clear and able to successfully chip Julian Speroni only for his goal to be chalked off. The only real plus-point from the first half was Carlos Tevez. He seemed extremely comfortable with the ball and very eager to drive us on. Palace eventually tried countering this by getting Shaun Derry to kick lumps out of him but he kept a calm head.

After the break was a completely different story. By the looks of it the players had received a bit of a rollicking, and rightly so, the home side had been quicker to nearly everything. We came out a different side, creating several chances and playing some beautiful pass-and-move football. Stephen Ireland and Gareth Barry really began to dominate the midfield battle and we saw more of the breaking at pace which we have in the past saved for Eastlands.

Five minutes in and we got our break, Shaun Wright-Phillips getting on the end of a nice passing move, having time to take a touch and smash home after a nicely-weighted pass from Ireland. It had been coming, and we continued to look dangerous afterwards. SWP got put through again only to see his effort come back off the bar having beaten the goalkeeper, and Adebayor also had a good chance saved.

Wayne Bridge had possibly his best game in a City shirt at left-back, a cracking second-half in particular, linking up well with Robinho and Barry and constantly looking to get in on the overlap. Micah Richards didn't have nearly as much joy on the right, rarely threatening going forward and looking decidedly dodgy sticking to his winger once more.

Continuing to have the lion's share of possession and always looking for a second with our superior fitness coming into play, we tied the game up with twenty minutes to go. A Wright-Phillips corner finding Tevez completely unmarked on the near post to head home. It was a goal he deserved, he had a very good game, looking tidy with the ball, a danger around the penalty box and never letting the opponents settle.

Towards the end, when we weren't knocking the ball around like it was a friendly, Palace looked occasionally dangerous. Introduced left-winger Ryan Smith impressed in the little time he had on the pitch, Wayne Bridge was lucky to not pick up a booking for a lunge on Moses, and they perhaps deserved a penalty, if not for a Bridge handball in the box, accidental in my opinion, then certainly for Micah Richards pulling a Palace striker down by his neck yards from goal after a cross from their right. Shay Given also made another couple of steady if unspectacular stops.

In all, a good result, but a game in which we showed both the good and bad that we all know we're well capable of. First half we were quite awful, our defenders were being got at, the midfield a bit lightweight and Palace were getting stuck in to little reply. The side should get great credit, however, for coming out after the interval, knuckling down, not losing the faith and going on to look much the better side and carving out several great opportunities. Lescott looked relatively solid, ditto Toure and we can take heart from the result. In previous years we might well have failed to turn such a tough away fixture around.

Palace, for what it's worth, should take positives from their performance. They gave us as much trouble as either Blackburn or Wolves did, and several of their young players look very promising indeed. Speroni seems to have improved massively since they dropped out of the Premier League, Clint Hill put in a dogged performance, and youngsters Clyne, Moses, loanee Sears and particularly N'Diaye made very positive impressions. I think they'll be more than okay this season, could perhaps even challenge for a Play-Off place. They seem to have a nice blend of youth and experience and i wish them all the best for the remainder of the season.

Given, Richards, Bridge, Toure, Lescott, Barry, SWP, Ireland, Tevez (de Jong 86), Adebayor, Robinho (Bellamy 72)


  1. We are a work in progress and it showed early doors but an understanding grew. I would back a Premier team to outrun a Championship side in the second half and it came to pass.
    Sean is almost 100% to score running in from that side with the right pass its a pity Hughes does not understand that yet, Sean has done it from day one with us.
    Onward and upward another clean sheet.
    "We will walk in fields of gold"

  2. very good summary of the game.

    I was so pleased to see City win this one.

    I hope Palace fans take a peek at your report.

    I remember a game in 80s which I went to when at half time a cuple of City fans ran on the pitch to boos from Palace fans ony to unfirl a banner which read "Palace for the cup" and then they started cheering and a chorus of "eagles, Eagles" was jined in by the whole ground. If I remeber right, which at my age is not always a reliable occurance the Salford Reds were playing them in the FA cup final. a week later
    Roger (Wild Blue Yonder!)

  3. Palace fan here. Good write up and I agree that for the second half performance City deserved the win. Just a shame that one of the 1st half chances Palace had didn't go in as it would have certainly made the 2nd half more exciting. Well done City and good luck.

    The worrying thing as a Palace fan is that ts put our youngsters Clyne, Moses, etc firmly back in the spotlight. Most important thing it to get to the end of August and try and hang onto them.

    All the best for the season.

    Oh and Roger, if it was Palace playing in the cup final it must have been 1990. Drew 3-3 with United (Ian Wright coming off the bench and scoring 2) and then lost the reply 1-0.