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April 23 2019 5.17am

Home point despite spurned chances

February 12 2019

Townsend (No 10) runs at the Hammers goal as the Eagles deliver a first-half corner

Townsend (No 10) runs at the Hammers goal as the Eagles deliver a first-half corner

The Eagles entertained West Ham for what promised to be an exciting encounter. It ended in a 1-1 draw although Jamesey was again shocked at the number of missed opportunities.

So many times this season the story could have written itself – Palace won/drew/lost (delete as appropriate) but profligacy in the finishing department let the side down.

On a dull and showery day (Feb 9) the strains of “I’m Forever Blowing Bubbles…” drifted through the air at Selhurst Park, signalling the presence of West Ham United supporters.

Your correspondent first remembers hearing that club favourite ditty live in 1975 when, as an honorary Fulham supporter, I accompanied my Cottager Battersea neighbour to the FA Cup Final. We lost 2-0 to the Hammers but it was my first visit to Wembley and is still vividly recalled.

Anyhow, forward 44 years to reality and the present, West Ham have been on somewhat of a roll of late and gave an impressive display against would-be league champions Liverpool a few days ago.

The Hammers tore into the home team with some effect right from kick-off and keeper Vicente Guaita had to be on top alert to make a couple of top-class saves to keep the match goalless.

Nevertheless the Palace custodian was adjudged to have impeded West Ham’s Michail Antonio and Mark Noble banged in the penalty to make the visitors a goal to the good in the 27th minute.

Despite fielding a strong home line-up including talisman Wilfried Zaha and fit-again striker Christian Benteke, the Hammers had the best of the first period in spite of chances for the red-and-blues.

Once again, after the break the Eagles changed up a gear and looked as though they could easily match and overtake the deficit.

One could speculate that a normal team would have taken at least a couple of what seemed like like the countless chances created throughout the whole game.

But CPFC don’t seem to be a very normal team nowadays and goal-scoring opportunities are squandered time and time again.

Without even mentioning many of the parade of spurned chances, the two most gut-wrenching bloomers were created by Benteke who was through on goal but presented it straight to Fabianski.

James McArthur, who admittedly had an otherwise good game, managed to hit the post when an open goal loomed to his right. A dreadful miss.

Among others, Martin Kelly and Michy Batshuayi (he’s already caught the disease) screwed up 22-carat chances.

After the Fulham victory which Zaha missed through injury, some of us were saying, “why worry, we can win without Wilf?”.

Well, on this occasion we couldn’t win but certainly managed to draw WITH Wilf when he scored the Eagles’ equaliser in the 76th minute aided by a deflection.

As I write, Palace are 13th in the Loadsadosh table. That position is not as secure as it sounds with six teams tussling near the dreaded 18th spot in the table.

Wins will be vital in the remaining fixtures but that will, of course, involve directing the spherical object into the designated area. CPFC players please take note…

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