Wednesday, 3 February 2016

The Cherries play pretty in pink at Palace 1-2

Match Report

Crystal Palace 1 v 2 AFCB
2 February 2016
Attendance: 24,855 (Incl 2832 fab AFCB fans!)
The teams are led out.
What a delightful night for the Cherries. There was much to admire about the pink shirts that ran around Selhurst Park. If it wasn't Charlie Daniels' crunching tackles on Wilfred Zaha that got you smiling, it was the outstanding saves of Artur Boruc or the running menace that wears number eight. AFCB went a goal down midway through the first half when some trickery from Chung-Yong Lee opened the back door and Zaha's baseliine cross was easily stabbed home by Scott Dann. The Cherries did not lose sight of the Eagles' goal though, even if our view was terrible, Marc Pugh found the bottom corner of Hennessey's net three minutes later and it was set up for a blockbuster of a second half. While Matt Ritchie thought he might have won it when he struck from just inside the box, it was just what Benik Afobe was waiting for and he pounced on Hennessy's spilt save to head in from close range. The Cherries had come from behind.

Boruc rallies the troops.
There was just the one change in AFCB's line up since the Sundelrand game with Matt Ricthie coming in for the injured Junior Stanislas. Crystal Palace made three changes but new boy, Emmanuel Adebayor started on the bench. 

Team news with Jason Tindall.

There was no sign of this being an easy game as soon as Chung-Yung Lee volleyed over the Cherries bar in the first few minutes. The pressure was kept on by the homes side with a corner and the Cherries struggled to get out of their own half.

AFCB had a sniff of a chance on 11 minutes when Ritchie was fouled on the edge of the box. He took the free kick but blasted it into the wall. Boruc was being kept busy but was making catches look simple. Now AFCB were starting to play with Pugh making a lovely dummy from a ball crossed by Daniels so that it would run to Arter but his pass for Gosling was too strong.

AFCB won their first corner on 20 minutes after Ritchie crossed and it hit a Palace hand only for  a high lopped shot from Arter was tipped over by the Palace keeper. AFCB's luck was not looking good when Daniels floated a great ball into the far post where Afobe got his volley all wrong as the ball went sideways when he looked in a great position to score.

Sadly, Palace were just about to go in front. A corner they had was cleared but Chung-Yung Lee back heeled it on the right wing back into Zaha's path in the box and his driven cross was met by Scott Dann with Boruc having no chance.

Crystal Palace's elation at going 1-0 up was not kept for long as Marc Pugh went on a stunning run inside the Palace box twisting Scott Dann one way and then the other before getting on his right foot and finding the bottom corner from 17 yards out! Spectacular! Hennessey dived well but just couldn't reach the sweetly hits shot.

The rest of the first half became quite entertaining if only for Wilfred Zaha's protests with Adam Smith for which Wilfred gave both barrels to the assistant referee for not giving hm a decision. The outburst only invited referee Mike Jones to come across and present the Palace winger with a yellow card. Zaha later had a volley go well over the bar and Pape Square did the same as the game reached half time.
The Crystals at Selhurst.
All eyes on the girls at half time.
Second Half
Jordan Mutch replaced McArthur at half time and Palace came out strongly in the second half with Jason Puncheon having a shot blocked. Scott Dann then got yellow carded for a foul on Afobe as AFCB get themselves going. Arter fired the free kick well over from the left wing but better was to come.

Arter popped up on the left again and threaded a square pass across the box that Ledley missed and Ritchie ran on to blasting it at goal and forcing a full stretch save to his right by Hennessey. The ball rebounded out and Benik Afobe contorted his body into a spring and powered his header as far away from the recovering keeper as he could and into the bottom left corner -1-2! AFCB had the lead.

Adebayor came on at this point for Campbell and I just hoped that he was ring rusty. Boruc certainly was not making a fabulous save from Puncheon. Francis was in a bit of trouble though and got a yellow for fouling Square on the break.

Arter made a strong breakaway from the resulting Palace corner and might have gone all the way but for running into some traffic on the edge of the box. Francis then made a block on the floor from Puncheon's shot. Jedinak was next to try but he shot over. AFCB were defending deep with three headers at one point needed to get the ball clear from the box. Chamakh had also replaced Lee.

Josh King came on to replace goal hero Afobe on 75 minutes and when Dunne lost the ball to Arter in his own half he just had to find King on the left to close the game out but his pass went straight to the keeper.

Matt Smith was given a yellow for pulling back Mutch. Soon after Boruc made his best save of the game when Jedinak played a ball through to Chimakh who had most of the goal to aim at but only found a Polish keeper who strong handed the shot away for a corner. Boruc soon had to make another save as well from Puncheon at his near post.

Josh King was making some nice touches around the box and he saw a shot it the side netting as the clock ticked on and the last chance fell to Adebayor who met a cross from Square but managed to turn and shoot but again only into the side netting.

A fabulous three points for the Cherries and Afobe's confidence is just going to get even better after bagging the winner here. It was a strong team performance and a win for the pink shirts at last. The important point is that it was a win coming from behind and that must be pleasing for Eddie Howe. Now they can start to see a bit of daylight ahead of the bottom three and  two home games are up next. I know that Arsenal and Stoke will be very difficult but getting anything out of those games now will put AFCB in a very strong position.
The boys done good!

Crystal Palace
Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, SouarΓ©, Jedinak, McArthur (Mutch 45), Zaha, Puncheon, Lee ( Chamakh 68), Campbell (Adebayor 58)

Palace Subs
Speroni, Hangeland, Mutch, Adebayor, Chamakh, Kelly, Boateng

Boruc, Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Ritchie (Grabban 85), Gosling, Arter (Distin 94), Pugh, Afobe (King 75)

Federici, Distin, O'Kane, Grabban, Iturbe, King, Murray

AFCB Ratings
Boruc 8, Smith 7, Francis 7, Cook 7, Daniels 8, Surman 7, Ritchie 7 (Grabban 85),Gosling 6, Arter 7 (Distin 94), Pugh 8, Afobe 8 (King 75)

Referee Watch: Mike Jones - likes the colour yellow perhaps a bit too much 4/10

There were just two correct score prediction of 1-2 to AFCB and that was @bmb_afcb Gayle Hope and @babyduck999. I had to do a draw and the winner was Gayle who wins the fridge magnet AFCB badge. There will be another small prize for the Arsenal game.

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