Crystal Smashed

Andy Munro on Blues’ win at home to  Crystal Palace.

After two very impressive away victories, yet another banana skin seemed to be waiting and this seemed to be brought home as Palace trotted onto the pitch in all yellow. For once there was a decent 20,000 plus crowd and, if I’m cynical, it seems that the missing thousands can suddenly ‘afford’ the match day prices when things are going well. Mind you the kids for a quid is, to my mind, the way forward to build a decent fan base for the future.

Early on it was a fairly even game which brought home the much used managerial phrase that ‘You’ve got to earn the right’. My initial thought on the match was that we’d be happy to squeak a one goal win so a close game was expected.

In fairness, some early signs were promising up front with Ziggy unusually winning almost everything in the air and, more importantly, getting some direction on his headers. Even the comparatively diminutive King was winning his fair share. However, it was thanks to the effervescent Chris Burke that we took the lead when he jinked his way to the edge of the penalty area to curl in a spectacular shot into the roof of the net past Palace’s despairing keeper. This was possibly one of the best goals that I’ve seen in the last few years down the Blues. Then, amazingly, it was arguably even bettered when the same player this time laid the ball off to Fahey, who smashed home an unstoppable first time shot from the edge of the area.

As if this wasn’t enough, soon afterwards Murphy surged into the box, coolly sidestepped a Palace defender before rifling the ball into the far corner of the net. That third goal, incidentally, was following great work by Townsend who had an excellent game making the Palace ‘prospect’ Clyne look distinctly ordinary. On the subject of prospects, Ramage did a tremendous defensive job on Zaha, who was apparently a ‘hot’ target for the top Premiership clubs.

As often happens with a three nil scoreline, Blues then went off the boil -and ball – particularly in midfield and after one narrow escape, Palace reduced the arrears with a fine shot which certainly graced the match’s ‘goals’ gallery. The second half saw a more determined Palace but after one scare when Myhill pulled off a brilliant diving save ,the game gradually petered out. Blues could have had a fourth but 3-1 was probably a fair reflection. My only criticism is that with the Hammers match around the corner, I would have given the subs a longer burst.

Probably the biggest factor in our latest run of results is the return of Murphy and, if we can replicate that on the other side with a returning Spector full footballing fluency will have been restored and a return to the Premier League will become a real prospect.