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January 18 2021 11.13am

Last ditch defeat for Eagles

October 19 2015

Like most hardened football supporters, Jamesey knew our nice little run couldn't last. He was right

Like most hardened football supporters, Jamesey knew our nice little run couldn't last. He was right

Like most hardened football supporters, Jamesey knew our nice little run couldn't last. He was right when West Ham came to Selhurst.

Fourth in the league and flying high, Palace attracted the usual near-capacity gate, not far short of 25,000 on a pleasant day (Oct 17).

Eagles supporters were looking forward to a closely fought game against a club who have always tried to play attractive football.

With Croatian, Slaven Bilic, at the helm, like Palace, the Hammers are enjoying a period of relative success. Like another underdog, Leicester, the two London outfits have been proving a match for the Heapsomoulah League moneybags clubs although time will probably tell as suspensions and injuries take their toll.

For your columnist, the two blots on the landscape were the presence of Victor Moses in the West Ham line-up and Mark Clattenburg as match referee.

In the first case, I have no grudge against Victor whatsoever. He was nurtured in our academy and turned in some magnificent performances as a fledgling Eagle. He was only sold to raise much-needed cash during our last troubled administration period.

Regrettably in my view, he has never gone on to fulfil his true potential and is still wandering the league as a loanee.

The real worry was whether he would perform the oft-repeated curse of the returning ex-Place player and score for the visitors.

The second blot was whether Mark Clattenburg would successfully stymie any Palace hopes of a victory with his usual bizarre decisions.

Anyhow the game started off at 300mph with chances at both ends.

To be fair the Hammers looked more like hitting the back of the net and did so convincingly with a strike by Carl Jenkinson in the 22nd minute.

However the home supporters didn't have long to wait before Dwight Gayle was fouled in the West Ham area and most of us breathed a sigh of relief when who else but our Gallic great, Yohan Cabaye, stepped forward to take the penalty.

Bang, and in it went, but a massive groan echoed through the stadium when Mr Clattenburg ordered the kick to be retaken because of encroachment. Yohan held his considerable nerve and in it went again although it looked like Dwight Gayle was guilty of encroachment once more just like before.

Fortunately Mr Clattenburg either didn't notice or sensibly feared a possible lynch mob and the goal was allowed.

Nevertheless just before half time, the referee obviously felt he hadn't scuppered the Eagles' chances sufficiently and sent off Dwight Gayle for a second yellow card foul. Most of the red-and-blue faith thought the decision was far too harsh. But then we would wouldn't we?

Whatever the rights and wrongs, Mr Clattenburg had effectively turned the game into a second-half of dogged defence by the home side.

Palace kept out the visitors effectively enough but right at the end the strain proved too much and two very late goals from the Hammers meant they would be blowing bubbles all the way home with a 1-3 away win and three points.

The result lifted West Ham into the Euro elite quartet and CPFC dropped to 6th place.

It was not a good day for your columnist with two last ditch defeats for two of his consuming passions, Palace and the Wales rugby team who were knocked out of the World Cup by South Africa in a game they might have won.

A strange thing happened during the game which I feel I must publicise.

There was I in the Arfur snapping away with my Canon G7 when an authoritative hand tapped me on the shoulder. A young steward said: "Sorry sir, no photography allowed, please."

I laughed thinking this was a joke and carried on along with the thousands of other spectators.

The shoulder was tapped again and in polite terms I was told to desist or be chucked out of the ground. For the first time ever, I hasten to add.

At half-time I approached the steward and queried why I wasn't allowed to do something I had been doing for year after year with no problem.

The steward, who was a nice lad if somewhat over-zealous, gave me the usual rules-is-rules litany.

I pointed to the thousands of fans at the top of the Arfur who stand for the entire game and certainly break the rules. I personally have no problem with this as everybody respects everyone else and sitters and standers are in different areas.

The steward then told me that smart-phone photos were OK but cameras like mine weren't. Professional photographers on the touchlines had to pay a fee.

Well, as a senior citizen who takes pictures for his own amusement and uses the odd one to accompany his musings on HOL, did I really fall into this category?

When Steve Parish reads my words (which he undoubtedly does (ha, ha)),perhaps he could enlighten me on the difference between a conventional digital camera photo and a mobile phone one?

To conclude, my sincere thanks to all the well-wishers who sent me birthday greetings on the HOL board, email and social network outlets.

At my age birthdays are becoming a celebration of survival as much as anything else. Maybe it's the same for everyone?

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