The Away Block Report: Palace stoked with first goal but come away with nothing

By - Monday 26th August, 2013

Dean Childs takes us through Palace’s first away game of the season against Stoke City from the terraces, where Holloway’s men found themselves frustrated. Tom Lickley provides some added insight from his sofa.

Stoke City  2 (Adam 58′, Shawcross 62′)

Crystal Palace  1 (Chamakh 31′)

(Edited) Photo by Ben Sutherland. Image used under Creative Commons License.

Once the team was announced, and Chamakh, Campaña and Puncheon (the Croydon-born winger returning to his hometown club, having signed on loan from Southampton in the week) had all made the starting XI for the first time, there was a little feeling Palace might have a chance to come home with a point or three.

Palace started the game looking more relaxed than against Spurs and settled very quickly, with an excellent first half display relying much upon the fact that Campaña and Dikgacoi were moving the ball around brilliantly all over the park. The goal came from Delaney hitting a long ball over the top, Chamakh out-muscling Shawcross, avoiding a sliding Huth and slotting it in the back of the net to go in 1-0 up at HT.

As soon as the second half kicked off, there was a sense that Palace was struggling to settle with Stoke chasing down every ball, sensing the away side’s nerves. Two of the best players for the Eagles in the first half, Chamakh and Campaña, in particular appeared to be very tired. Before Palace could regain the confidence they displayed in the first half they had conceded two goals. The first seemed to stem from a poor decision from the referee, for a perceived foul by Puncheon; the second the result of sloppy defending, Chamakh “bottling” a challenge. The two goals came only four minutes apart, and it was this period that would cost Palace the chance to put points on the table.

Both Chamakh and Campaña were then taken off by Holloway, both of them looking shattered after starting their first games of the season. Likewise, they both looked like two different players from the first half and the start of the second. Palace faded after the substitutions and the game fizzled out with much of the ball spent in the middle of the park.

A mid table finish may not be beyond the south Londoners, if Palace can keep up the form they displayed in the first half. In contrast, if they display the form they showed for the second half, the likelihood is that Palace will end up as the whipping boys for many teams, with the knowledge that Palace have the capabilities to panic after half time and tire too quickly.

Bring on Sunderland!

Tom Lickley, The Block G Report: 

Palace will be happy to have scored their first Premier League goal for over eight years, but this was like the Tottenham game in reverse; the Eagles were much better in the first half than the second, where, before conceding, they looked understandably nervous, given the desire and pressure to record a first win of the season.

Having said that, Palace looked excellent at times in the first half and they can take real encouragement from the performance, particularly the interplay between Campaña and the front three. Whilst Stoke was poor, Palace made them look considerably worse. Perhaps most promising of all was Chamakh’s work to score, shrugging off two defenders and finishing well. Many believed before his arrival that a player like Chamakh would not dig in and provide the hard work necessary for a team likely to struggle. Whilst the goal quietened the pessimists, fuel would have been added to their cause with Chamakh ducking out of a crucial challenge which led to the Potters’ second goal.

Whilst Palace lost – to two moments of poor defending – Stoke did nothing to suggest they would not be relegation rivals for Palace this season. Stoke’s second half performance however reminded the Eagles of the home team’s experience in the Premier League, and while the two teams looked similar in terms of quality, Palace’s naivety and fitness levels were exposed somewhat. Yet with only two games played, losing to only the single goal in both, Palace should not be downhearted. Sunderland at home next weekend will be vital.

Stoke City: Begovic; Cameron, Huth, Shawcross, Pieters; Wilson, Nzonzi, Adam (Whelan 74′); Walters, Etherington (Pennant 70′), Crouch (Jerome 86′).

Crystal Palace: Speroni; Ward, Gabbidon, Delaney, Moxey; Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Campaña (Garvan 63′); Gayle, Puncheon (Phillips 76′), Chamakh (Williams 64′).

Referee: A. Marriner

Attendance: 25,270

Next match: Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland at Selhurst Park, Saturday 31st August, Kick-off 5.30pm. Live on Sky Sports and BBC Radio 5 Live.

This seasonThe Away Block Report is looking to provide match reports from each away game, from a supporter who has travelled to watch. If you would be interested in writing a report for Palace’s next away match (vs. Manchester United on Saturday 14th September), please get in touch.


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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