Palace find their feet at last while furious Wednesday lose their cool
Crystal Palace 2 Sheffield Wednesday 1
Sunday 02 September 2012
All the pre-match talk had been about Wednesday's winning and Palace's plunge. The bottom side shocked the high-flyers though. The Championship has a habit of doing that. It mocks form guides.
Wednesday deservedly lost on a bad-tempered afternoon, which included a rowdy confrontation between players after the reversal of a decision to award Palace a penalty while it was 1-1. Ultimately, that decision did not save Wednesday as Palace's Glenn Murray added a close-range strike to his opener.
Dave Jones, seething after his first defeat as Wednesday manager, blamed the referee Rob Lewis for creating a frenzied atmosphere by awarding the penalty in the first place – then changing his decision – leading to the home fans creating a cauldron of animosity, which supposedly affected his players.
The incident took place in the 73rd minute when Mark Beevers brought down Murray with a challenge but won the ball. Wednesday's players – quite rightly – were furious and surrounded the official. Pushing and shoving ensued between opposing players before the referee consulted with his assistant and the decision was changed. Tempers simmered, with players confronting each other, before the situation calmed. "All he's done is whipped up the crowd," complained the Wednesday manager. "After that, we couldn't even make a challenge.
"It turned the whole game. I thought he was poor, and the linesman, throughout the game. It's a difficult place to come without giving them a helping hand. But that's what he's done."
It was no surprise Jones was upset though. His team had been unbeaten in 18 league games, could have gone top if they had won and were playing against a team who had lost their first four games of the season and were facing their worst start to a campaign since 1925.
The defeat for Wednesday was created by the wizardry of Palace's wide men. Ironically, that is supposed to be Wednesday's speciality.
Yannick Bolasie was the creator of Palace's surprise opener as he dashed down the left, produced a smart step-over to confuse the Wednesday defence then advanced to the byline and cut the ball back for Murray, who had an easy finish. After snatching the lead, Palace worked hard to maintain shape and keep Wednesday out, with Rodri firing over their best chance.
When the second half started, it was the away side's turn to make an instant impact. Miguel Llera – the centre-back who can take a handy set-piece – conjured an impressive corner delivered with pace and power, which whizzed towards the back post, where Michail Antonio bundled in.
Palace kept up their positivity though and went on attacking before the flashpoint of the reversed penalty call. After that incident, Palace kept pushing and were rewarded when Wilfried Zaha forced his way down the right and crossed for Murray to win it."I am not relieved, I am happy," said Palace manager Dougie Freedman.
Value for money?
Sheffield Wednesday's late recruits Jay Bothroyd and Martin Taylor did not join in time for this match. Palace's new defender Damien Delaney looked solid, while David Goodwillie came on early in the second half but was quiet.
Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Speroni; Blake (Moxey, 46), Ramage, Delaney, Parr; Zaha, Jedinak, Garvan Bolasie (Williams, 81); Moritz (Goodwillie, 63), Murray.
Sheffield Wednesday (4-4-2): Kirkland; Buxton, Llera, Beevers, Jones; Antonio, McCabe, Semedo, Johnson (Pecnik, 77); O'Grady (Madine, 65), Rodri (Major, 84).
Referee Rob Lewis.
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