Cowans masterminds a robbery

BY TREVOR HAYLETT

Crystal Palace 1

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1

It had been stop-start all afternoon, one more blast of Gary Willard's whistle producing another in the lengthy toll of set-piece football, so it was somehow fitting that even when the tie finally stopped it was only in the knowledge that it must start all over again at Molineux in nine days' time.

This quarter-final between sides who could yet swap League places at the end of the season was an uneasy game to view, because at no time was it able to flow and because there were just too many strange and unexplained things going on.

Take the Wolves equaliser for example. A wonderfully shaped finish by the enduring Gordon Cowans, caressed and guided beyond Nigel Martyn's outstretched hand. But surely there was a push and a pull on Damian Matthew to enable the 36-year-old, who has never gone past this stage of the competition, to apply his master finish, And was not Mr Willard within smelling distance of the offence?

For his part Cowans came clean. "Yes, I might have nudged him in the back. Yes, I was a little bit surprised the referee did not blow for a foul, but you play to the whistle don't you?"

Then there was the disturbing proliferation of handling misdemeanours. Brian Law took the law into his own hands not once but twice in the Wolves penalty area and got away with it each time, while Iain Dowie had a bizarre spell midway through the first-half when anything played above head height appeared to be an excuse to raise his fists.

Thankfully for Palace, he kept them out of harm's way as he shot them ahead eight minutes into the second half from Chris Coleman's header via a free-kick (you just knew that had to be the starting-point), having stolen away from his marker.

Dowie celebrated in the manner of one who knows he should get more goals than he does. This was his third for his new club and only Palace's second in eight games. Deprived of Chris Armstrong's razor-sharp pace, the attack - with John Salako a notable exception - is all bustle and brute force.

Alan Smith, the Palace manager, hopes to have permission from the Football Association to restore Armstrong, who in January tested positive for cannabis, for the side that tomorrow faces Sheffield Wednesday, the struggle for Premiership survival having assumed far greater significance than the prize at stake here.

Wolves, who on Wednesday at local rivals West Bromwich will renew their search for the automatic promotion place, will feel more confident about the replay. Just as against Mansfield and Sheffield Wednesday (twice), they were forced to take a heavy blow to the chin before calling on their reserves of character to pull through.

Steve Bull and Don Goodman give the all-gold a strength and a purpose, and David Kelly's pickpocket instincts are up there with the best. For all that, Eric Young and Chris Coleman were in control for the most part, which was why the Palace defence were so aggrieved when the television replay showed Matthew was unfairly dispossessed.

Goals: Dowie (54) 1-0; Cowans (67) 1-1.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Martyn; Southgate, Shaw, Young, Coleman; Matthew (Humphrey, 75), Pitcher, Newman, Preece; Dowie (Dyer, 82), Salako. Substitute not used: Wilmot (gk).

Wolverhampton Wanderers (4-4-2): Stowell; Smith, Shirtliff, Law, Thompson; Goodman, Rankine, Cowans, Dennison (Emblen, 61); Kelly, Bull. Substitutes not used: Bennett, Jones (gk).

Referee: G Willard (Worthing).

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Key Sales Account Manager - OTE £35,000

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - OTE £40,000

£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Designer / Design Director

£38000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This B2B content marketing agen...

Austen Lloyd: Law Costs HOD - Southampton

£50000 - £60000 per annum + Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: An outstanding new...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn