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April 20 2018 12.13am

New boss makes his point

December 27 2016

Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce

Sam Allardyce made his Palace managerial debut at Watford with a 1-1 draw. Jamesey and Wilf King give their thoughts.

Once upon a time, club mascots used to be fun figures for kids and adults as they frolicked around, bringing smiles and laughter to home and away supporters.

Now, however Harry the Hornet of Watford has decided to bring a new element into his role, “diving” in front of Wilfried Zaha after the final whistle.

Accusing an opponent of cheating is a serious matter and mascots should steer well clear of “political” statements. A large dose of insect repellent is needed for Harry at Vicarage Road.

I have said my goodbye to Alan Pardew and he now enters club history as a player and manager. Like him or not, Sam Allardyce is a first-class choice for the task in hand – staying in the Moulahmillions League.

The new man had had little time to change anything much for his Watford debut (Dec 26) although unusually Andros Townsend started and repaid Sam's decision by having an excellent game and laying on a deft pass to Yohan Cabaye to score Palace’s opening goal.

Overall it looked like a far better performance by the Eagles than in recent weeks and this supporter would never sniff at an away point although had Christian Benteke’s dreadful penalty attempt been better all the points might have gone to CPFC.

Defensive frailties may be apparent but at least no goals were conceded in open play which is really something of late.

Anyhow, my colleague Wilf King took his seat on Away Supporters Coach No 1, sped northward like playing at Football Star online slot and watched the game at Vicarage Road. He continues below.

At away games I often get a match programme. So turning to page 12 of The Hornet I thought I was at the wrong game.

There was a photo of Alan Pardew and in Walter Mazzarri’s programme notes he said: “To the fans of the Eagles, and their manager Alan Pardew, who today arrive at Vicarage Road, I wish happy holidays and a Happy New Year.”

Obviously programmes are printed in advance so it was understandable that there was no mention of Sam Allardyce who had only been appointed manager of Crystal Palace FC on Friday.

Ah well, events move fast in football these days almost as same as the games at euro palace online casino I recently tried :) but I decided I was watching Pardew’s last game.

Our new manager had promised Palace fans “joy” over the Christmas period and in the New Year so I was in confident mood. I had remarked on Coach 1 on the journey to Watford “let’s not give Troy Deeney his 100th goal”.

The Eagles started brightly and, as usual, Zaha was the Hornet’s tormentor; he really was “just too good for you”. Palace wasted chances but on 26 minutes Cabaye scored with an assist from Townsend.

So on 37 minutes when Palace were awarded a penalty - for Gomes bringing down Benteke - there seemed a possibility of going in 2-0 up at half time.

Benteke used his normal penalty routine but goalkeepers have worked this out and Gomes saved but why was Gomes not booked for his foul? I learnt later that of all PL goalkeepers to face more than 20 penalties only David Seaman (32%) has a better save ratio than Heurelho Gomes (30%). I am hoping that Mr Allardyce will impart these facts to his new team.

There were five extra minutes and at half-time it was 0-1.

The second half started with Watford on the front foot and my initial thought was “are Palace going to implode?” Palace had lost their energy and focus and Benteke was statuesque. I wondered how long before we conceded and my worst fear soon became a reality.

Watford were awarded a penalty (for Damien Delaney pulling back Prodl) and who stepped up? Deeney showed Benteke how to take a spot-kick for his 100th Watford goal.

Was Pardew’s last (away) game going to end like most of the others? Jordon Mutch replaced Townsend (73) and Fraizer Campbell came on for Mathieu Flamini (80). Palace defended better and Wayne Hennessey made a good save from Guedioura towards the end.

Whether Zaha should have had a (second) penalty was doubted by Messrs Wright and Shearer on MOTD for what it’s worth. I have deliberately not mentioned the referee but there was the familiar chant “it’s all about you” and a new one “he’s done it again”.

The new manager has a job on his hands but the signs at Vicarage Road were good – Townsend played well and got involved, Cabaye had a good game (and should have taken the penalty) and Zaha was Man of the Match.

Strangely Pardew was not there to congratulate him!

Subsequent results (Sunderland, Swansea and Hull all losing) means that the Eagles now have a 2-point cushion over 18th place.

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