Crystal Palace should be embarrassed by Scunthorpe showing... but hopefully it's the wake up call they need
I really hate the international break. It’s only 5 games into the season and there have been no matches for the best part of two weeks. I was so relieved to see Saturday arrive with 3 points expected against a team who before the game had the worst goal difference record in the league. You would have thought this would see Palace record their second victory of the campaign. How wrong I was!
A clinical finish in the first 5 minutes from man-of-the-match Jonathan Forte saw Scunthorpe take a slender lead into half time. Although Palace tried hard they could not find a way past the Scunthorpe backline.
The game was over in the second half after Palace went two down early in the second half and once old-boy Sam Togwell scored Scunthorpe’s third goal (well taken and well deserved), a mass exodus ensued with fans heading for home. The fourth goal not only sealed the game but left Palace to reflect on one of their worst defeats in recent history. Perhaps the performance a few seasons ago when Palace were drubbed 5-0 in the old Division one could be seen as a worse performance.
Palace were poor all over the pitch and this was further compounded after Freddie Sears, who seems to have been affected by ‘Bristolgate’, missed a consolation penalty for the Eagles. The players were rightly called into training on Sunday to assess the damage caused. Apologies were made by certain unnamed players but it remains to be seen if Palace can improve for their next game against QPR.
The players should be embarrassed by the performance and hopefully it is the wake up call that they need. We praised them after they played so well against Manchester City but since then they have taken a step backwards rather than moving forward after that game. Take nothing away from Scunthorpe United, they were simply brilliant and rewarded the 450 fans that made their way south. I would be surprised though, if they better that result away from home this season.
Up next for Palace are fellow Londoners QPR. The game will now be a more interesting affair with Ex-Palace players Ben Watson, Wayne Routledge, and a few others lining up against the Eagles. Changes will need to be made and hopefully Palace can dispense with the floating 4-3-3 that they have been playing. Palace need to attack and I for one would like to see Ryan Smith start on the left and a recall for Australian international Nicky Carle.
The season being only six games old looks like a long one already. Palace have only won five times in the league this calendar year so although it’s too early to say we will be in a relegation dogfight this season, results will need to improve fairly soon to ensure that they pull away from the bottom of the Championship. As Charlton found last year once you are down there, it’s hard to build the momentum to get out of that position.
My final thought goes out to the Palace defence. A couple of seasons ago it was the most miserly defence in the league and now the same players are leaking goals left, right and centre. An instant improvement will be required against QPR and no doubt the Eagles will be fired up for a London derby.