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It’s Only Rock and Joel (But I Like It)
9:55am Monday 8th April 2013 in Sport
By Tom Hughes
For this week’s column my friend Dan suggested I wrote “PLEASE SCORE” 150 times. After all, Palace last found the back of the net a month ago verses Leeds.
But I decided to be slightly less childish than that.
Everything else about the family day at Selhurst Park was perfect - the sun was out and the stands were packed.
Referee Kevin Stroud did not think everything was perfect, reckoning that both of Barnsley's kits clashed with the Eagles’ red and blue which caused a Sunday League-style decision for the Tykes to don Palace’s yellow away shirt.
That strange irregularity aside, it looked like being back to business for the home side, playing with disciplined organisation and an energetic spark like the good old days (for example, earlier in the season).
Joel Ward’s return was most exciting, after a couple of wobbles he looked poised in his defensive duties and explosive going forward.
Jonathan Parr also had an exceptional game – occasionally finding himself the furthest player forward as he desperately tried to create a goal from the flank.
It’s hard to add anything original to the media hyperbole about Jonathan Williams, but Saturday demonstrated his versatility.
Playing alongside Mile Jedinak deep in midfield for 90 minutes he looked closer to Scott Parker than his nickname namesake Andres Iniesta, working tirelessly in a far more combative role.
Impressive: Jonny Williams in action against Barnsley
Time and again the Welshman nicked the ball from underneath an opponent’s nose. He put in countless tackles and even won the ball in the air on a few occasions.
While Damien Delaney and Peter Ramage looked solid they were guilty of far too many nervous clearances.
There is still work to be done, but hopefully the backline don’t lose momentum from this positive performance with next weekend’s fixture against Millwall postponed until the final game of the season.
It means a long wait until the team travel to Ipswich.
All we need before then is Holloway to work some training ground magic to get the attacking players firing againm before we start getting terrified that our troubles have moved to the opposite end of the pitch.
It’ll be panic stations if this barren run stretches to five games.
Tom Hughes writes for the Five Year Plan
No way past: Yannick Bolasie could not find a way past the Barnsley defence in the 0-0 draw at Selhurst Park
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