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June 23 2021 7.36am

Exit door for Potters

January 31 2016

Puncheon conducts the choir as Clattenburg wonders why are the crowd singing

Puncheon conducts the choir as Clattenburg wonders why are the crowd singing "all about him"?

Jamesey thought 10 (conc) was brilliant value for a good old-fashioned top-tier cup tie and took his seat for one of football's greatest contests, the FA Cup.

After a disappointing defeat at home to Tottenham the previous Saturday, Palace supporters were hoping for more of the form of the early season when their club entertained Stoke City (Jan 30).

Alan Pardew could not play the suspended Connor Wickham whose elbow incident was not only stupid but dangerous.

Nevertheless, retrospective decisions by FA suits watching videos and overruling the referee seem to have two elements in common.

First the player must be from a small club so as not to upset the cash cows and, second, the incident must have been highlighted on MOTD.

Then the FA sleuths eagerly steam into action and hand out suspensions in trials by TV video. Without trying to justify Wickham's behaviour such FA actions are little better than "kangaroo courts', in this commentator's view.

There has been much speculation about the hunt for a much-needed goal-scorer, emphasised even more by Wickham's absence although we are talking about hope rather than reality in his case.

We finally heard that Tottenham's Emmanuel Adebayor was coming to SE25 in a deal where CPFC and Tottenham jointly pay his 100,000 weekly wage bill.

One can only hope that Adebayor turns out to be more useful than another African with a similar-sounding name - Ade Akinbiyi.

Brought in from Leicester in 2002 by then manager, Trevor Francis, for a 2.2m transfer fee (a considerable sum of cash 14 years ago), Ade was one of the biggest flops in Palace history and must have been a big contributory factor to the eventual departure of the one-time Brummagem boy wonder.

Back to the game in hand. The Eagles ran out in much the usual mixture but with Fraizer Campbell, Joe Ledley and Chung-yong Lee starting but regrettably no James McArthur.

Palace played with great vigour and passion and the Potters seemed intimidated to be relentlessly attacked.

After all the oohing and ahing over Dele Alli's admittedly excellent strike for Tottenham on the previous Saturday, perhaps Wilfried Zaha should gain some media admiration too for his terrific strike just after the first quarter of an hour?

Wilf weaved his way through the Stoke defence and coolly slotted the ball through the legs of keeper Jakob Haugaard.

Apparently one of CPFC's former bosses, Ray Lewington, now of course a major figure on the England national squad set-up, was at the game.

To be fair, Ray did a good job in his Palace days and, to my mind, was always fair and sensible. Would he have a word in Roy Hodgson's ear about Wilf's superb effort?

Probably not - Wilf is Palace and Alli is Tottenham. Enough said.

The Potters came back into the game strongly in the second period and instead of sealing the win with a second goal which had looked probable, the Eagles had to do some desperate defending.

Wilf's goal proved decisive and Stoke had to suffer being ejected from two competitions in the same week after the midweek league cup defeat.

One wonders what match official Mark Clattenburg's reaction must be when he is allotted a visit to Selhurst Park.

Some of his performances in CPFC matches have been abysmal so whatever he does is going to get the bird from Eagles fans.

Sure enough it wasn't too long before the "It's all about you" songs started to emanate regarding some of his decisions. He must be well used to ritual abuse by now

Not too long ago, the gate of 17,000-plus would have seemed enormous but it is surprising how used one gets to a packed stadium. Seeing empty seats everywhere is unusual now the FA Cup doesn't have the same appeal as a Pilesodosh League fixture.

It is, however, certain that in this season from now on, any Cup game at Selhurst will be bursting at the seams.

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