Millwall 3-0 Crystal Palace ~ Match Report

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As if celebrating the New Year wasn’t enough enjoyment, we had a simple three pointer against our near neighbour’s crystal meth to look forward to. A more delusional club and set of fans you would be hard pressed to find anywhere else other than Yorkshire.

I don’t wish to appear condescending to these unfortunate cretins but the fact is if they haven’t grown a pair by now they never will and no amount of posturing and posing will not hide the fact that they will always be so far in our shadow that their pale, ashen, pasty faced persona’s will forever be looking up in awe at us at Millwall.

We are, in layman’s terms, Gods to these unfortunates. They would give their stamp collections to be a fraction like us. The problem is they just don’t understand how to support a football club and the sooner they drift back to following David ‘Kid’ Jenson on twitter the happier they would surely be?

The club themselves are a soulless bunch at best. The name has been taken from the original great exhibition iron and glass structure built in Hyde Park which, when the exhibition was over, was moved to Sydenham Hill in South London. This is, in contemporary terms, like moving the Dome after the 2000 exhibition was over, to Primrose Hill and then forming a football club called The Dome FC. It is a senseless and completely inane thing to do but by the Gods of football they still did it.

The fact that the name “Crystal Palace” was a derogatory term coined by Punch magazine is still lost of the morons who follow them.

But, despite all of the above we have a commitment to play them as and when the league deems it necessary and as I say, the three points were safe before a ball was even kicked, as per usual.

The big story that hit me and MrsB was the news that Morison had contracted influenza and was not available to play. Now the cynics among us would no doubt jump on this statement as a euphemism for “Morison has been signed by Fulham for £3,000,000...” but not me. To say someone has influenza is not the same as saying they have a hangover. Influenza is a killer and we should respect that fact as surely the club wouldn’t make up something like that, would they? A dose of the trots would have sufficed for explaining his absence.

So, where did that leave Mr Jackett with team selection? No Dunne through suspension and now no front man with Morison side lined and a bit of confusion with Schofield and Henry we had a bit of a shuffle and so we lined up as follows:

Forde, Smith, Ward, Craig, Barron, Schofield, Abdou, Trotter, Mkandawire, Puncheon and McQuoid.

The official line was that the place was full to capacity but such nonsense is never believed and indeed this was the case as the attendance was given as 16, 170 with 2,129 of that figure being the away fans. So simple maths means that 14,041 home tickets are only ever available? Is that correct?

The splendid rendition of “Living next door to Alice” was well received though as 14,041 voices all joined in the familiar chorus and then it was time to get down to business and straight from referee Swarbrick’s whistle there was only ever one team in it and we tore them apart with a cold clinical precision that was a joy to behold.

Trotter tested the usually unflappable Speroni in the Palace goal and his nervousness was apparent for all to see as he just managed to scoop the ball up but moments later he was picking the ball out of the net after a good move down the left flank saw the ball dinked iinto the area where McQuoid leapt almost Cahill like to win a header and from the resulting knock down Puncheon volleyed home for the opening goal. 1-0! To say the place erupted would be an understatement of biblical proportions, it went absolutely mental.

You could physically see what little resistance Palace offered wilting away as each minute ticked by as we totally destroyed their confidence and enhanced their obvious doubt in their own abilities.

The only thing missing was the elusive second goal. Trotter had a looping header beat the ‘keeper but it was a fraction to high and Barron fired a shot over when a little bit of calmness would surely have seen a just reward and then, with about ten minutes of the half remaining we got it. Well, actually, we didn’t get it but we should have got it, if you catch my drift.

A corner from Schofield was sent over and the ball was half cleared to Puncheon who rifled a low shot through a mass of players and the ball spun off a defender and clearly bounced over the line but as we were all celebrating, Palace cleared the ball away and referee Swarbrick, getting no help whatsoever from his assistant, just waved play on.

To the lads credit they did not let this ludicrous decision affect them and they just picked the tempo back p again and continued to push for the second goal and Trotter should have got it after a smooth move between Smith and Puncheon saw Trotter in a glorious position but he leant back and lifted the ball high over the bar.

The second half saw a meagre attempt by palace to try and put some pressure on our underworked defence but it was about as convincing as an Anne Widdecombe Pasodoble and just about as graceful.

We toyed with them like a cat with a mouse but the second goal was just not materialising so Mr Jackett decided to make a change and on around the hour mark he replaced McQuoid with Marquis and although this didn’t directly change things it did precede the vital goal that our performance deserved.

Trotter put a ball through to Puncheon who bustled his way past his marker and fired a low right foot effort into the bottom right hand corner. 2-0! Cue pandemonium and a sudden dilution of away fans from the North stand. Their team was getting as soundly thrashed as a snotty nosed public school boy and unlike the said schoolboy, they did not like it one bit.

Puncheon was clearly revelling in his double strike and he was giving their defence a torrid time and within another five minutes he had completed his well deserved treble as he again moved into position on the left of the box and fired a low drive into the same corner as his second goal. 3-0!! What a performance from the Puncheon and the rest of the team.

Palace where simply outclassed, outplayed and as usual, outnumbered in the stands, the only fans left in the away bit were clearly the doughnuts who had stumped up twenty quid for a six mile coach trip because the rest of them left in there droves.

Henry came on for Puncheon with about five minutes remaining a got a well deserved standing ovation from all three sides of the ground and then Harris came on for a cameo with a couple of minutes left on the clock to end what was a glorious new years day of football for the Lions.

The only real danger of them scoring came in injury when Danns was all alone with Forde to beat and true to form Fordie saved well and the Danns headed the rebound over the bar which more or less summed Palace’s performance up perfectly.

The speculation of Morison was all but a distant memory as referee Swarbrick called time and the only debate was how much Southampton would want to part with Puncheon.

It was a fabulous day of football and the victory was well deserved and if the Palace manager thought it couldn’t get any worse he was sadly mistaken as he was given his notice before the flood lights had been turned out at the Den.

So now we sit in seventh place and it is a good place to be going into the second half of the season and despite the up and coming shenanigans of the transfer window, we really should be satisfied with where we are at this moment in time.

No time to dwell on this result though as we have a trip to Derby County to contend with on bank holiday Monday and we can expect a tough time at pride Park but in our current mood we must fancy our chances of at least a draw.

See you all there!
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