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October 2 2023 6.46am

Lions are laughing

December 26 2003



Our Boxing Day derby against Millwall ended on a gloomy note for the Eagles, as 'Wall nicked the points

Trying to lift the pall of gloom that envelops the Jamesey household this evening (Dec 26) is proving difficult.

What is it about our oldest and keenest rivals that - apart from Granville's superb free-kick last season to win the match - they always seem to look hungrier than we do?

Even when we undoubtedly look technically superior they seem to be able to defend superbly (today for example) and just refuse to capitulate.

They were, of course, helped today by the woodwork and the penalty miss but it frequently seems to be the same old story in recent times.

Iain Dowie's debut was hardly an easy ride and I thought - apart from playing the off-colour Shipperley - his team selection was spot-on.

But after a promising start, we seemed to revert to the old formula of hoofing it up high for Shipperley never to get and AJ chasing shadows like a demented gnome and falling over for free kicks.

Still all credit to Dowie for bringing on Freedman and Black late which nearly gained us at least a draw.

Although Dowie was only at Selhurst briefly first time round, he should know the importance of playing Millwall at home. This is the game that goes deep into our souls.

We loathe and detest losing to Millwall at home and I hope Simon Jordan (if he is the Palace fan he claims to be) gathers together the entire mob of them and points out a few home truths.

It is vitally, desperately and unmitigatedly essential to win, or at least draw, at home to 'Wall. We like beating Reading away 3-0 naturally, but it is completely unimportant compared with playing the Lions at Selhurst.

It is downright irritating to be able to beat the Royals and Forest and then lose to a side which it was crucial to beat.

Until we have a less naive team and one that is prepared to give blood and guts to this most significant game of the season, we will go limping on, losing to the team we hate and deserving the epithet "stripey nigels".

Sermon over. I hope my blood pressure is down before Ipswich on Sunday (Dec 28).

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