Wilfried Zaha's zest gets Crystal Palace pushing on for Ian Holloway
Peterborough United 1 Crystal Palace 2
Sunday 11 November 2012
Ian Holloway's dream start as Crystal Palace's manager continued at London Road as the visitors' irresistible second-half performance earned its deserved reward with two late goals.
André Moritz and Kagisho Dikgacoi were the scorers – turning the match around with two goals in two minutes – but the star of the show was undoubtedly Wilfried Zaha, the England Under-21 winger who, on his 20th birthday, illuminated this match with his quick feet and lightning speed.
It was a performance that led both managers to describe him as "unplayable" and, not surprisingly, it left Holloway waxing lyrical. "It is wonderful to see such an exhilarating, exciting player – to run with the ball like that, and outrun people running without the ball, is amazing," he said of Zaha, who has drawn a plethora of Premier League scouts to Selhurst Park and, according to newspaper reports, even had Didier Drogba calling him to see if he would switch his international allegiance to the Ivory Coast.
The victory took Palace back to the top of the Championship and left them unbeaten in 13 matches, 10 of them wins. Holloway has stated his ambition to repeat his promotion success with Blackpool by taking Palace up, but whether Zaha will be there beyond January remains to be seen.
Darren Ferguson, the Peterborough manager, described him as "the best player outside the Premiership, hands down". He added: "At times he was unplayable. Since the first time I saw him I thought he was going to go right to the top."
Inevitably Zaha was involved in both goals. After a Zidane-style pirouette in the first half, Zaha produced a similar cameo to free Aaron Wilbraham, who set up his fellow substitute, the Brazilian Moritz, to strike Palace's 80th-minute equaliser. Zaha's break then led to the South African midfielder Dikgacoi finding the far corner for the winner.
But for the Posh goalkeeper Bobby Olejnik, Palace could easily have repeated the five goals they put past Ipswich in Holloway's first game since replacing Dougie Freedman in midweek. He made a series of fine saves to foil Glenn Murray, Yannick Bolasie – Palace's other impressive winger – and Zaha as Peterborough, now second-bottom, tried in vain to cling on to the sixth-minute lead given them by Grant McCann.
But if Peterborough had begun brightly, the second half was one-way traffic towards the 3,000 Palace fans behind Olejnik's goal and eventually the pressure paid off.
Peterborough (3-4-3): Olejnik; Alcock, Brisley, Knight- Percival; Little (Ferdinand, 82), Bostwick, McCann, Newell; Tomlin (Swanson, 63), Berahino (Barnett, 67), Boyd.
Crystal Palace (4-2-3-1): Speroni; Ward (Wilbraham, 80), Ramage, Delaney, Parr; Dikgacoi, Jedinak; Zaha, Garvan (Moritz, 74), Bolasie (Blake, 82); Murray.
Referee: G Sutton.
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