One year ago to the day Palace reached the top of the Championship with a crushing 5-0 victory of Ipswich in Ian Holloway’s first game in charge. A hell of a lot has changed since then.
Yannick Bolasie’s first goal for the club, which based on his performances had been long overdue, was an excellent lob over the on-rushing keeper and Glenn Murray took three penalties, scoring two and missing one, but completed his hat-trick before Andre Moritz rounded off proceedings in injury time.
This was the 12th match of an unbeaten run and those in attendance could not help but feel a sense of when and not if Palace would score, given the confidence around the place and the opponents poor form. Holloway described it as a “pinch me” moment as he tried to contain his excitement for what he had inherited and the support was definitely buoyant.
Ipswich did pass the ball well in midfield and for the first part of the first half looked like their intentions of frustrating Palace may have been working, but once the goal came there was only going to be one winner and the almost 70% possession stat emphasises how Palace efficiently dismantled any threat for the Tractor Boys.
One year on and Holloway is gone, a victim of the poor start to the Premier League campaign, and Murray is still in the treatment room and is not expected back until probably the new year, by which time the Eagles will have a new manager he will need to impress. In terms of the tables across the 4 divisions, Palace are one place better off as they inhabit the final position in the top division.
The when and not if feeling has done a complete reversal and the team looks a shell of what it was this time last year in terms of confidence.
They say you have to go through bad times to appreciate good, and this time last year was certainly a good time for the Eagles. But whatever happens this season, the support will always be there and great memories like being top of the league and winning at Wembley are irreplaceable and will live on.
Daniel Smith - @dmsmith1987