Here’s Matt Wills with your Thursday fun. Potless FC are getting serious…
Crystal Palace, the team that has never won a major title, filled with players who haven’t won any either, sit 3rd in the Premiership under my tutelage and with all to play for in the domestic cups. Selhurst Park is a wonderful place to be at the moment.
We left Part 2 having been beaten by 17th place West Ham, so a pick me up is on the agenda, which comes in the form of Southampton who we netted 6 first half goals against earlier in the season.
It’s a tighter affair this time out at The Dell, Richard Shaw putting the game to bed after a late Saints rally.
Talking of 6 goals, the game of the season so far erupts when Liverpool come to Selhurst Park.
Young Michael Owen takes advantage of some lackadaisical defending to put Liverpool 2 nil up before Collymore halves the deficit to make it 2-1 at the break.
Martyn brings down Owen in the box after the break and after escaping punishment, rubs salt in the wounds by saving Fowler’s penalty.
This ignites Beppe Signori who knocks in two before we lose McAteer for numerous rash challenges. He finishes his hat-trick before Le Tissier makes it five and then grabs his 4th at the death. Beppe goes home with the match ball and the linesman’s flags, the scamp.
The back pages are all over us as we head back to The Dell for the 3rd round of the FA Cup.
Lundekvam adds to his own goal in the league game by getting his marching orders after only 13 minutes and we’re coasting at 3-0 by half time. Le Tissier, predictably, does not celebrate his goal.
From the FA Cup to the League Cup and Stan and Beppe see off John Salako’s Sky Blues to put us in the semi-finals where we’ll be up against Spurs.
Sheffield Wednesday feel our cutting edge steel as we knock them for four at home and it seems that nothing can keep Collymore and Signori from finding the net.
Ian Walker proves he can stop Collymore, but not Signori or Sinclair and we come away with a point at the Lane. No indication from this how our League Cup semi meetings will go.
Before the first leg though, it’s Preston in the 4th Round of the FA Cup and I take the chance to rest some of The Ordinary Boys (sorry) with Bully and Huckerby sending us on a future date with Port Vale in the 5th Round. Not sure why Paul Dickov was playing in defence mind….
Signori doesn’t take kindly to being dropped for a cup game and takes his anger out on Aston Villa and claims another match ball.
As we head into a run of 3 cup games in a row, we are tucked nicely in 2nd behind Man Utd in the table, with Spurs and Liverpool making it a potential four horse race.
In the League Cup, we’re two games from Wembley and make a brilliant start against Spurs only to go in at half time 2-1 down. Collymore levels things after the break but Klinsmann lobs a stranded Nigel Martyn to make it advantage Spurs in the first leg and some work to do in the return at Selhurst Park.
Before that though, it’s Valentines Day at Vale Park.
Rose are red, our kits red and blue, we’re going to score two more than you. Vindaloo!
Stan the man sending us into the next round where it’ll be Watford or Arsenal.
Time for that League Cup Semi-Final Second Leg, and it’s all to play for, for all four teams.
Big Nigel hurt his head in training, so Shaka takes the No.1 jersey, but otherwise it’s a settled 11.
Stan and Beppe put us in the driving seat at half time….
…and that’s how things stay. Spurs are poor and we’re off to Wembley!
It’s a Blackburn/Crystal Place final. Crikey.
Back to more mundane matters in the league and we travel to basement club Barnsley who are no match for our Italian Maestro. Beppe gets a hat-trick too.
Dicks is out for a month with an ankle injury, so with Steve Watson suspended for 2 games, Dyer and Gary Kelly run the flanks for our next league match against Wimbledon.
It’s the inevitable names on the score-sheet and Palace thunder on.
But it almost goes to Pollocks in our next match against Bolton, but 3 is the magic number once again
We start brightly against Leeds and Bernd Schneider gets a rare start but we find Nigel Martyn replacement Mark Beeney impervious and Big Dunc’s goal shares the points. Paul Lake, who I brought out of retirement, steady in the middle for Leeds.
All this league shenanigans leads us back to the cup exploits and an FA Cup Quarter Final with Arsenal.
The Gunners make a solid start, but Stevie Stone justifies his recall for Schneider and a Seaman Own Goal that raises eyebrows for Danny Baker and Nick Hancock.
The second half is a cagey affair and when Adams is sent off for a foul on the edge of the area, Kieron Dyer spots Seaman off his line and chips in a third.
Dyer playing of course, in place of the injured Julian Dicks, so the headline could easily have been ‘Dicks lobs Seaman’ (probably on the back pages of the Sunday Sport).
Puns aside, this puts our charges into the hat for the semi-finals where it’ll be Man Utd or Blackburn. They like playing each other and drawing, don’t they?
Liverpool and first division Bradford make up the other semi-final.
Everton come next and Dean Richards doesn’t fancy our customary 3 goals and pops up with header to make it 4.
International recognition for some of squad given recent impressive results.
Ah, back to 3 goals…
All of this fun and frolics has left the league table looking very positive for Palace.
United a point ahead and with a game in hand. We’re almost averaging 3 goals a game, which is crazy and in no small part down to Stan and Beppe, crazy stats….
Stan can’t even get in the England team….
….while Beppe has 5 in 3 for the Azzurri.
Crazy, I’ve never had two strikers so prolific and these aren’t players I would normally think to sign on a save, but they are just clicking so well.
That wraps up part 3, so in the next and final part, we’ll have an FA Cup Semi Final, a League Cup Final and the league run in to look forward to.
Oops, almost forgot the bottom of the table…..
It’s almost over for Barnsley, see you soon.
Before I go, a quick look at a couple of players turning out for Potless FC….
Tough in the tackle, with a left foot like a traction engine, Dicks is best known for his two spells at West Ham, sandwiching a single season at Liverpool, scoring many goals from free kicks and the penalty spot. After his career ran down, Dicks moved into coaching including Sealand and West Ham Ladies as well as taking up semi-professional golf. Dicks is now a coach at promotion chasing West Brom.
A youth product of Nottingham Forest, Stone burst onto the scene in the mid 90’s with his impressive performances supplying the bullets for Collymore giving him a part in the England Squad for Euro 96. An injury ravaged 96/97 season limited his England caps and after Forestes relegation he spent 3 seasons at Villa, before moving onto Portsmouth and Leeds. He’s now a coach at Burnley after many years as a coach at Newcastle United.
You can follow Matt on twitter @Matt_C_Wills where I’ll also do a seasonal update on my Kevin Keegan Challeneg Career Save