Away Block Report: Hull City 0 – 1 Crystal Palace

By - Sunday 24th November, 2013

Tony Pulis watched from the stands as Palace win first Premier League away match in eighteen attempts – and form may be picking up

Barry Bannan (No. 46) was the hero for the Eagles. Photo by docteur es sport, used under Creative Commons license.

Clichéd it may be, but these are the results which are going to keep Palace in the Premier League. Two weeks after a deserved draw at home to high-flying Everton, the Eagles travelled to fellow promoted club and relegation rivals Hull City in the knowledge that this represented their best chance of the season to register points away from home.

As has been the case for the duration of caretaker manager Keith Millen’s reign – who will make way for Tony Pulis, the latter officially confirmed as Crystal Palace manager a few hours before kick-off – the Eagles made few changes from their previous match, with Dwight Gayle replacing Jerome Thomas, the former West Brom and Charlton winger ruled out through injury. Perhaps the biggest boon to the Palace lineup pre-match was the confirmation of Pulis as Palace’s new manager on a two and a half year contract, and with the Welshman likely to make squad additions in January, each player was fighting for his place in the first team.

Palace certainly played with fight and vigour. This match won’t go down in history as a classic, but it will certainly be memorable for the hardy travelling support. Former Palace defender Paul McShane hit heads with striker Marouane Chamakh early on, leading to the Moroccan’s eventual departure ten minutes before half-time, to be replaced by Cameron Jerome, the target man on loan from Pulis’ former club Stoke City. There was little in the way of clear opportunities early on; both sides started in a hurry however, Palace fan George Boyd looking fairly threatening for the Tigers and Kagisho Dikgacoi blasting off target for the Eagles.

The most notable moment in the first half came off the pitch; Hull fans unfurling a banner in protest against owner Assem Allam’s plan to change the club name to ‘Hull Tigers.’ Whatever happens to Palace this season, fans can be grateful their club will still have their identity, unlike possibly Hull and certainly Cardiff City, who recently changed club colours and badge to suit an Asian audience. Palace fans and all true football fans will certainly feel sympathy with Hull City fans.

Back on the pitch, chances were still hard to come by, Curtis Davies having a half chance which was blocked in the box for Hull and Julian Speroni making a comfortable save from Boyd.

It was all hands to the pump from then on for the Eagles, and a nail-biting final few minutes ensued

The second half started on the same pattern, with chances being made but little in the way of substance behind them. Speroni made a good save from Yannick Sagbo with the Ivorian one on one, and fellow Yannick – Bolasie for the Eagles – nearly played Gayle through on goal, before sending a chance of his own wide.

It would be Bolasie who would be the focus of the turning point of the game – although not in the typical way. The popular Congolese winger can consider himself extremely unfortunate to have been sent of in the 78th minute for sliding in on Jake Livermore during a Palace attack. Replays clearly showed Bolasie slipping when trying to protect the ball, with little malice intended, and it will be interesting to see whether Palace appeal the decision. Regardless, the Eagles went into the final ten minutes with just ten men, and it seemed as if recovering a point would be the best option for the away side.

Not that the players took this attitude. Just a couple of minutes after the sending off, Palace pressed a lazy throw-in deep in the Tigers’ defence, with Jerome taking full advantage as he jinked his way past the Hull defence before squaring the ball on the byline. Gayle proved to be a suitable distraction for the Hull defenders, as the ball made its way to an unmarked Barry Bannan, the Scotsman gleefully slotting the ball home to send the nearby away fans into raptures.

It was all hands to the pump from then on for the Eagles, and a nail-biting final few minutes ensued. This reached a peak in the final seconds of the four minutes added time; Livermore again at the centre of the action, the ex-Spurs midfielder seeing his shot blocked on the line by Dean Moxey, before Liam Rosenior smashed the ball goalwards from the haphazard clearance.

All 23,000 in the ground held their breath as the ball swerved towards goal…and crashed against the upright and away. Moments later, the final whistle had blown and Palace had their first Premier League victory away from home since October 2004. Whilst it was the players who soaked up the majority of the applause – rightly so – special applause was reserved for Keith Millen, the boyhood Palace fan having done a superb job to stabilise the Eagles following Ian Holloway’s departure, taking four points from four games, with a good performance against Arsenal despite defeat on top.

Pulis will surely be encouraged by what he saw; Palace still have a long, long way to go if they are to be sitting in the Premier League in a year, but this match proved they had the fight, the skill up front and the solidity in defence to make a great case for survival. If Pulis can combine all three consistently, then Palace fans would be forgiven for thinking the future burns bright as they walked away in the Humberside night.

Hull City: McGregor; Elmohamady, McShane (Rosenior, 58′), Davies, Figueroa; Huddlestone, Livermore, Brady (Graham, 45′); Sagbo, Koren (Nagy, 77′), Boyd.

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey; Jedinak, Dikgacoi (O’Keefe, 75′), Bannan; Bolasie, Chamakh (Jerome, 36′), Gayle (Puncheon, 86′).

Goals: Hull City 0 Crystal Palace 1 (Bannan 81′).

Sent Off: Bolasie 78′ (Crystal Palace).

Attendance: 23,043.

Referee: A. Taylor


The Palace Away Fan

The Palace Away Fan

Following Palace over land and sea, The Away Fan is 100% committed to the cause. Often seen catching a train on a rainy Saturday, the Away Fan rarely returns home without a thousand stories to tell. Visiting exotic locations such as Stoke, Hull and Sunderland, this intrepid traveller is the authority on Crystal Palace performances away from SE25.

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