Conor Wickham drew the boos of the frustrated fans of his former club at Sunderland last night, as he was twice on target to give Crystal Palace a glimpse of their first league win in 11 games, only for the Eagles to be denied by a very late Fabio Borini equaliser, which his manager called “a wonder goal”.
The crushing disappointment of letting two of the three points slip from his team’s grasp can be heard in manager Alan Pardew’s voice in his post-match interview.
Sunderland had taken the lead in the first-half through Dame N’Doye, before Wickham’ scored his two goals in the space of six minutes just after the hour, and Palace seemed to be on their way to a vital win to end a miserable run of results in the league. Then, with 90 minutes played, up stepped Borini. “It was the best goal of the season across the Premier League,” according to Allardyce.
A point was a relief to relegation-haunted Sunderland, and with results elsewhere going their way, they climbed out of the bottom three on goal difference for the first time since November.
Palace’s tumble down the table – from the heady heights of possible European football qualification in the autumn – has coincided with Yannick Bolasie’s absence through injury. Bolasie was back, wide on the left for Palace last night in a 4-2-3-1 starting formation. Although not yet fully match fit, his presence alone helped inspire his team mates to improved performances.
“It was a game we perhaps should have won but when we wake up in the morning we’ll probably think a draw wasn’t a bad result,” said Pardew.
“It was very important not to lose,” Pardew said in the knowledge that, for now at least, there are four teams that look to be far more likely to be fighting for their Premier League survival over the next eight weeks than Palace, who can therefore look forward more to their FA Cup quarter-final at Reading next week.
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