The Media Review: Crystal Palace

The press reports from the 1-1 draw with Palace.

By Nick Szczepanik • 15 January 2022

By Paul Hazlewood
Jakub Moder's fine effort deflected off the upright and away from goal.

Another match against Crystal Palace, another late leveller from the Albion. But whereas Graham Potter’s men could feel fortunate to share the spoils at Selhurst earlier in the season, a draw was the very least they deserved from Friday evening’s, as the national daily papers’ reporters all admitted – even the Palace fan (who shall remain anonymous). 

They also enjoyed what proved to be an entertaining encounter for the neutrals – not that there were very many of them in the Amex beyond the media areas. Daniel Matthews introduced some of the colour of the occasion in the Daily Mail.

“Shortly before half-time, smoke began billowing from the goal of Jack Butland,” he wrote. “A flare had been thrown by Crystal Palace supporters in a desperate attempt to keep Brighton at bay.

“In the latest instalment of this curious rivalry [no it isn’t, Dan], Palace were already teetering by the time they conceded a penalty and their fans sent for the pyrotechnics.

“But they need not have worried. Butland cleared the flare and then saved the spot-kick. It was a few seconds that summed up his night. One spent putting out fires and staying cool as the south coast crackled.


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PL Highlights: Albion 1 Crystal Palace 1

“Brighton should have won this at a canter. Instead they had to make do with a point. Despite Butland’s heroics, despite Neal Maupay having the ball in the net – only for VAR to intervene. Despite Conor Gallagher’s second-half goal that looked to have secured Palace a grand heist.

“In their delirium those Palace sent down another flare. But soon three points went up in smoke as eventually Butland’s resistance was broken. It took his own team-mate – Joachim Andersen - turning the ball into his own net three minutes from time. 

“And very soon, Patrick Vieira’s side were clinging on once more. Danny Welbeck sent a header narrowly over in stoppage time before Brighton demanded a last-gasp penalty. Nothing doing on either count.

“This game came to the boil during a bonkers six minutes in which the AMEX spent more time waiting for the verdict of VAR than watching any football. And yet still the two teams managed to squeeze in a penalty and disallowed goal.”

Sam Dean of the Daily Telegraph, a regular visitor to the Amex and an admirer of Albion’s football, also praised Palace’s man of the match Butland, and noted the frequency of late goals in matches between the two sides. 

“No lead is safe in this curious rivalry [it really isn’t curious, Sam], no matter how late in the game, and one of the Premier League’s most dramatic fixtures once again lived up to its billing on a ferocious, breathless night at the Amex,” he wrote. “Late goals are almost a guarantee when it comes to Crystal Palace and Brighton, and once again it was Brighton who found an equaliser as the clock ticked down.

“Four games in a row between these teams have now provided goals in either stoppage time or, in this case, the 87th minute. No one leaves before the end when Brighton meet Palace, and the home supporters will be thankful they stayed to witness Joachim Andersen turn the ball into his own net after waves and waves of pressure had finally taken their toll.


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Graham Potter's Palace verdict

“Palace snatched a last-gasp win here last season, so they would have known what was possible after Conor Gallagher had given them a lead they did not deserve. Patrick Vieira tried to hold on to the three points, to set up his team in a victory-securing defensive formation, but Brighton wore them down when they needed it most. 

“Just as it had been in south London in September, Brighton were forced to remain patient when the more natural response would have been to scratch at their eyeballs in frustration. At the precise moment the stomachs started to tighten, and the belief began to ebb away, Neal Maupay’s low cross was stabbed past his own goalkeeper by Andersen.

“Graham Potter’s side still have a problem with taking their chances. The late equaliser does not change that. They controlled the ball, again. They dominated the game, again. They should have won, again. This time they could add a missed penalty to the list of wasted opportunities, with Pascal Gross guilty of a dreadful effort, and they also struck the bar through Jakub Moder. They have somehow taken just one point from their last two home games against Palace, despite being in complete control of both matches.

“’If a Martian came down and you explained to him the rules of football and looked at the stats, it would be a bit of a head-scratcher,’ was Potter’s assessment of the two games. ‘The performance was brilliant. I really liked everything we did.’

“Against Brighton’s ferocious approach, Palace were reliant on goalkeeper Jack Butland to keep them level in the first half.”

Ed Aarons of the Guardian also went in on the late goals but also provided some perspective on where the Albion are at the moment, and a revealing stat. 

“This fixture always has a habit of leaving things late,” he wrote. “With Crystal Palace leading thanks to a brilliant strike from Conor Gallagher - his seventh Premier League goal of the season - a win here for Patrick Vieira’s side seemed on the cards despite being very much second best for most of the game. 

“Yet having rescued a point against the team they like to beat more than any other earlier in the season, this time it was an own goal from Joachim Andersen three minutes from time that came to Graham Potter’s salvation.

“It is now six matches since Brighton beat their bitter rivals, with Potter still yet to taste victory since taking over in May 2019. But this will have at least felt positive after they had fallen behind to Gallagher’s brilliant team goal with 20 minutes to play having previously been frustrated by an excellent performance from the Palace goalkeeper Jack Butland. 

“Brighton came into this match with their best points tally after 19 games of a top-flight season since 1982. They ended that campaign 13th in Division One, which remains the club’s highest-ever finish, and hopes are high on the south coast that this team can set a new standard under Potter.

“On the evidence of this display, with Brighton dominating their opponents in midfield they are more than capable of that, even if Potter acknowledged their cutting edge must improve having managed 19 shots but only four on target. Remarkably, Gallagher’s strike after a superb move that featured 22 passes was Palace’s fourth successive shot on target here that has resulted in a goal - a run that stretches over three matches.”

Don’t remind us, Ed.  In contrast, Albion chances came and went as Robert O’Connor wrote in The Times: “This was a red-blooded game that deserved a winning goal that never came. Crystal Palace battled and almost butted their way to a hard-fought victory against Brighton & Hove Albion, carried along by the searing intensity of the derby atmosphere on a freezing night at the Amex Stadium.


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Extended PL Highlights: Albion 1 Palace 1

“It was a game that the hosts had controlled for large periods but on which they had failed to leave a defining stamp, needing instead a late leveller to even out the spoils.

“The first chance came early and giftwrapped with a bow for Brighton. Marc Cucurella pounced on an awful defensive header from Joel Ward, threading a pass through to Leandro Trossard, who had all the time in the world to size up his shot before thumping the ball against Jack Butland from six yards out.

“Joel Veltman and Pascal Gross were finding each other’s runs with unfailing regularity down Palace’s left, and that was where the away side looked most vulnerable. When the crosses came into the penalty area, the defence stood firm, but Brighton had their rivals where they wanted them.

“Yet the right ball would not drop in the right place. Veltman worried Palace when he struck a volley from close range on 35 minutes, a strike that was crowded out by the defence, before Jakub Moder blasted over from the loose ball. But the game was lacking a creative spark.

“What it got instead was a penalty, which was awarded after a protracted VAR check, with the Palace midfielder Will Hughes adjudged to have hauled Veltman to the ground by foul means at a corner. Up stepped Gross to try to bring the Amex to life but he succeeded only in getting the Palace supporters on their feet as Butland beat away his effort from 12 yards.”

But finally, Neal Maupay found a way through, as Tom Barclay wrote in the Sun. “Crystal Palace must be sick of the sight of Neal Maupay.

“The Frenchman earned Brighton an undeserved 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park in September with virtually the last kick of the game.


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Trossard on Palace point

“And he put in a late show here too to deny Patrick Vieira’s side as his cut-back was turned home by the unfortunate Joachim Andersen with three minutes to go.

“That was after Pascal Gross had missed a penalty and Maupay had had a goal ruled out.

“The uninitiated may be baffled by the level of animosity between the two clubs, given the near 50 miles of A23 between them.

“The rivalry was sparked in the 1976-77 season when Alan Mullery’s Brighton and Terry Venables’ Palace went head to head for promotion in the then Third Division.

“There have been plenty of feisty moments since and in the last three encounters, game-changing goals in the 90th minute.

“Albion midfielder Alexis Mac Allister, who began the trend with an injury-time leveller at Selhurst Park in October 2020, warned fans 'not to leave early' ahead of his clash.

“The game was not living up to the lively atmosphere - until mayhem ensued in the 36th minute.

“Out of nowhere, VAR alerted ref Robert Jones to check his monitor for a foul on Joel Veltman by Will Hughes in the area and he rightly gave it.

By Paul Hazlewood
Leo Trossard was superbly denied by Jack Butland early on.

“Palace fans cheekily lobbed a red flare into the goal as Gross was waiting to take his spot-kick and the trick seemed to work as the German’s weak effort was saved.

“Yet from the resulting corner, remarkably, Brighton had the ball in the net as Jack Butland spilled Dan Burn’s header, allowing Maupay to pounce and turn home.

“Yet once again VAR told Jones to check his pitchside screen, where the rookie Premier League ref found Maupay to have fouled the goalkeeper.

“It seemed questionable if Butland was actually in control of the ball as Maupay nudged it out of his hands.

“Albion kept up the pressure in the second half as the excellent Jakub Moder came a whisker away from his first Premier League goal when striking the crossbar.

“The Pole was denied again minutes later after being sent through by Mac Allister, but this time via a superb Butland stop.”

As Emma Sanders of the BBC website wrote, “Brighton had done everything but score when Gallagher sent the away end wild with a cool finish against the run of play.

“Palace had rarely troubled keeper Robert Sanchez - his best save was to deny team-mate Adam Webster who sent a deflection towards goal under pressure from Odsonne Edouard at the near post.

“But Brighton, typically, did not give up and continued to put pressure on the visitors, eventually reaping the rewards when Maupay's low cross was flicked in by the unfortunate Andersen.

“Manager Graham Potter had looked distraught when Gallagher scored for Palace, but he had clenched fists and a look of relief when his side hit back with time running out.”