Fulham 2 Crystal Palace 2 match report: Goalscoring youngsters offer hope to Fulham as 13-year Premier League stay comes to an entertaining end
Palace looked to have earned the three points through Dwight Gayle's effort but David gives supporters some cheer despite relegation
The last minute of the season can be important even for a team already relegated. By scoring an equalising goal in added time, the 20 year-old Dutch youth international Chris David enabled Fulham supporters who have enjoyed what a banner in the Hammersmith End called “13 amazing years” to approach the summer with a little more optimism in adapting to their new circumstances.
The promise shown by David and young English striker Cauley Woodrow, both of whom scored their first goals for the club to equalise those by Dwight Gayle, was what kept too deep a depression sinking in during a game in which revitalised Crystal Palace looked the more likely winners. It may be some time before the fruits of the Under-18 team that reached the FA Youth Cup final ripen fully but the future would appear to lie with them rather than the likes of Konstantinos Mitroglou, the £12m signing who has started one game and sat in the dug-out throughout Sunday’s proceedings.
There will be older hands not seen again in these parts. “The team today I selected, I’ve given you a sign we’ve changed something in the future,” said Felix Magath, Fulham’s third manager of a bizarre season. “We don’t rely on older players. We go with younger players. We have a good youth academy, but the players have not played much in the last few years. I will change that.”
Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring for Crystal Palace Magath added that he agreed with the owner Shahid Kahn’s comments about an “unacceptable” lack of commitment among some players. The manager revealed: “I see Sunderland and Norwich playing, Norwich here at Craven Cottage, they had much more fight. I asked my team: ‘What’s going on?’ One was telling me: ‘We cannot fight.’ I was surprised.”
He was entitled to be, and could have held up Tony Pulis’s Palace as an example to be copied.
“If you had said to me when I came in [to replace Ian Holloway in October] that we would play at Fulham and that would be the game that decided whether you stayed up or not, I’d have taken it,” Pulis said. “I’d have chomped your hand off.”
The seven-figure bonus the former Stoke manager is reportedly being paid for his work since coming in after a 4-1 home defeat by Fulham in October is small beer compared even to the £9.6m for taking them eight places up the table – let alone another windfall when Palace enjoy a second successive Premier League season for the first time.
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