Match Review – Brighton 0-0 Crystal Palace

palacehomereview2017

Don’t worry those Palace fans out there who had tickets but couldn’t get into the Amex due to their own fans stupidity, you didn’t miss much.

Derby games can be cagey affairs with neither side wanting to lose to their rivals and that is exactly what we got, a game that won’t live long in the memory, other than for the atmosphere and what happened off the pitch. A draw was the right result.

Palace were exactly what you expect from a Roy Hodgson side – defensively solid and well organised. It’s not hard to see why they haven’t scored a goal away from home, but in a division where being hard to beat can get you a long way, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Hodgson keep them up. Unfortunately.

They had the best chance of the game, Christian Benteke and then Wilfried Zaha drawing a brilliant double save from Maty Ryan after that rarest of sights, Shane Duffy losing a header.

Brighton’s chances were limited; Pascal Gross should have done better when he was set up by Knockaert but the German playmakers placed shot was so gentle it could have been mistaken for an effort from a Granny who has just had her hip replaced, and Glenn Murray had a header cleared off the line by Andros Townsend.

And that was about it. No fireworks at all on the pitch. They were reserved for the stands.

Things started when some pricks with paintbrushes painted red over the mural of Bruno in the city. It was a pointless act given the paint was washed off before the perpetrators would have been back in line in the Croydon dole queue, and if a couple of virgins want to spend a Monday night vandalising stuff, then we’d advice them to have a look on Ebay to see if there are any lives for sale.

Then came the scenes at the ground. Predictably, Southern Rail made a complete cock up out of things, canceling at least one train and reducing others down to three and four carriages between Brighton and Falmer. Hey, not like large queues at the station could lead to tensions boiling over, is it?

This obviously meant people rocking up to the Amex late, which is a problem if your own fans without tickets decide to break in. We’re told that Palace supporters smashed open a fire escape, allowing those gathered outside to gain entry to the away stand. In the midst of all that, there were smoke bombs and bangers going off and utter confusion. That of course led to two stewards – one from each club – getting hospitalised.

With the away end now overcrowded, someone took the decision to stop letting people in, even those with tickets. The FSF have said they are going to look into this and have complained at the outrage, when it surely would have been more outrageous to let people into an already overcrowded stand and risk a crush. You know, the sort of thing that happened at Hillsborough.

Palace supporters looking for someone to blame can point the finger at their own ticket less fans who denied those with tickets the chance to see the game. If we’d have gone all the way to Selhurst Park, only to not get in because a load of twats in black hoodies without tickets had smashed their way in, we’d be livid with our own supporters. Thankfully, we don’t have wannabe members of Blazing Squad amongst our fanbase like the Holmsdale Fanatics who seem to only be fanatical about acting like a bunch of wankers. We won’t even start on knifes and knuckle dusters being taken to a football game.

That isn’t to say the club and police are entirely blameless. When we last went to Palace, we had to show tickets before we’d even be allowed onto the road from which you access the away end. At West Ham and Manchester United this season, it’s been the same thing, a pre turnstile ticket check. Given the high importance of this game, it shouldn’t take Albert Einstein to work out that cordoning off the away end and making Palace fans show tickets before they could approach the turnstiles might have been a good idea. Those Palace fans without tickets who did get in probably couldn’t believe their luck at how easy it was.

As for the security checks, well the fact that there were at least four loud explosions in the away end plus all manner of flares and stuff going off suggest they were non existent. We’re constantly told to get to the Amex early these days for thorough searches. Clearly these don’t exist in certain sections and our requirement to arrive early is so customers are in the ground for longer spending more on food and drink. Profit Paul Barber likes this.

If there had have been proper searches and proper policing then the away end wouldn’t have resembled a mini ISIS erotic dream. The fact that the Palace Guy Fawkes’ ended up injuring their own supporters with their bangers shouldn’t go unnoticed either.

Palace’s ultras, the Albion and the police all need to look at themselves after last night but ultimately we all know who will pay the price, and that will be genuine supporters. They’ll draft Heinrich Himmler in to advise on security for the return game at Selhurst in April and make it as draconian as possible for away fans. Names on tickets, getting searched 20 times, travel on certain trains and get marched to the ground by the SS. That sort of thing.

Can’t wait. Let’s just hope the football is worth it.

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