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Liverpool game featured all the components of Hollywood blockbuster
Updated 4:04pm Wednesday 7th May 2014 in Latest Sport
Damien Delaney gets the fightback underway with this strike which made it 3-1. Pictures by Edmund Boyden.
Still basking in the glory of Monday’s spectacular comeback against Liverpool, Eagles columnist WILL TAYLOR reflects on the game and last night’s player of the year awards ceremony.
Monday night’s emotional 3-3 draw with Liverpool featured all the components of a Hollywood blockbuster.
Joe Allen's 18th minute header resembled the early setback, while two quick-fire strikes from Daniel Sturridge and Luis Suarez suggested a point of no return.
Suarez was aptly cast as the stereotypical villain, despised by many but seemingly too good to fail, while grand overlord Brendan Rogers was desperate to exact his revenge having been mocked during the early stages of his Merseyside career.
In the opposite corner stood an unlikely hero, Tony Pulis, a modern day MacGyver blessed at working wonders with the raw tools at his disposal.
As with every cliched example of film, the audience needs to be satisfied.
But this was no ordinary audience, this was the Selhurst Park faithful whose unyielding chorus of support grows stronger in the face of adversity.
And after a fortunate turn of events courtesy of Damien Delaney's deflected 79th minute strike, the underdogs were suddenly on top, surging forward with purpose and renewed vigour.
Dwight Gayle came bounding on the scene, brimming with youthful exuberance before slaying the giant that stood before - or rather off - him with two deadly blows.
At the final whistle there was a cutting contrast of emotions.
Liverpool were left speechless and inconsolable as they struggled to come to terms with the severity of their collapse.
Palace, meanwhile, were buoyant, delirious at the reality of the achievements before piping up once more when the players returned for a thoroughly well-deserved lap of honour.
The celebrations continued into the following day at the club’s end of season awards.
Gayle picked up the goal of the season prize for his solo Boxing Day stunner against Aston Villa, a strike which clinched all three points and triggered our transformation in 2014.
Despite an abundance of criticism, Gayle continues to exhibit bursts of brilliance whenever he is allowed onto the pitch.
He is a rough diamond who will continue to shine if treated with care and attention.
Joel Ward scooped the young player of the year award, which served as a reminder that despite his maturity and consistency in an array of different positions, he is still just 24 and has a long future ahead of him.
After Glen Johnson spectacularly imploded, Roy Hodgson could do worse than call upon Ward, or even former Eagles starlet Nathaniel Clyne, when he heads to Brazil this summer.
Fan favourite Mile Jedinak secured the vice-presidents’ player of the year trophy after dominating the Premier League with an unrivalled number of tackles, interceptions and locks of curly hair.
The Australian sentinel has been an ever-reliable barricade this season and epitomises the never-say-die attitude which currently flows through the entire club.
And Julian Speroni walked away - hopefully not a sign of things to come - with the player of the year gong for a record breaking fourth time during his time in SE25.
His acceptance speech was drowned out by cheers of ‘sign him up’ as doubts over an expiring contract continue to linger.
It's almost certain Wayne Hennessey agreed to join in January with the assurance he would be first-choice come August but here’s hoping he is forced to wait that little bit longer.
With co-chairman Steve Parish and Pulis set to discuss future plans this week, a number of doubts and fears still hang in the air.
Can Pulis be trusted with a sizeable transfer budget?
Will the vultures once again circle around Selhurst and look to lure away our standout players?
And how can Palace couple Premier League success with a reputation for nurturing young, local talent through to the senior squad?
But for now, it's time to rejoice, to bask in the benefits of mid-table security as the credits begin to roll down on a truly sensational season.
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