Classic Encounters: Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Crystal Palace
WOLVERHAMPTON, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Wolverhamton Wanderers manager Mick McCarthy celebrates his teams goal during the FA Cup sponsored by E.ON 4th Round match between Wolverhampton Wanderers and Crystal Palace at Molineux Stadium on January 23, 2010 in Wolverhampton, England. (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)

Wolverhampton Wanderers face Crystal Palace in the third round of the FA Cup this Friday evening. Both teams will be hoping for a good run in the cup, with their forms in the Premier League leaving nothing to be desired.

The sides first faced each other in the competition in 1909, playing out a 2-2 draw which then forced a replay. Palace then went on to win 4-2, which was played at Crystal Palace Park, the very same venue which hosted the FA Cup final up until the First World War broke out in 1914.

VAVEL looks back at three other classic fixtures between the two sides that all played out at Friday's venue, Molineux Stadium.

  • Wolves 1-4 Crystal Palace, 22nd March 1995, FA Cup quarter-final replay

Our first fixture goes back to the '90s, with a quarter-final replay in the FA Cup. Wolves were battling for promotion to the Premier League, whilst Crystal Palace were fighting for their survival in the top flight. 

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Wolves were managed by the late Graham Taylor and were sitting in the playoff places in Division 1. Palace had Alan Smith in the dugout and were fighting to avoid relegation from the Premier League. The sides had both drawn 1-1 at Selhurst Park, so it was the men from Molineux who had the home advantage for the replay.

However, Palace had other plans. The first 30 minutes of the game was quite passive, with neither side unable to break the deadlock. Then in the 32nd minute, Palace won a throw-in deep in Wolves' half. 

A long throw into the box was flicked on by Iain Dowie at the near post, which was then acrobatically knocked into the net by Chris Armstrong, in the form of an overhead kick. 

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Wolves replied quickly with a low diving header by forward David Kelly from close range, after a low cross skidded across the swampy surface catching the Palace defence napping.

Then with an almost instant reply, the Eagles managed go ahead again, with another long throw-in launched into the box. After Palace again beat Wolves to ball, it was then flicked on to Dowie, who controlled and then volleyed the ball past the helpless arms of Mike Stowell in goal.

Things got worse for Wolves, but in emphatic style. Palace midfielder Darren Pitcher chested the ball down around midway into the Wanderers' half and let loose an absolute screamer right into the top corner of the goal. A superb strike which was unstoppable.

The second half was very open, with both teams moving back and forth as each took turns to attack quite directly. It was Palace though who struck again, with Armstrong beating his man and firing home a rocket into the top corner from what seemed like an impossible angle.

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Wolves were unable to muster anything else up to beat Nigel Martyn in goal, so Palace's wonder goals saw them through to the semi-final. Wolves did manage to finish the season with the highest points total in 11 years, but still lost out in the playoffs.

Palace ended the season being relegated as a consequence of the Premier League dropping from 22 teams to 20 teams. The Eagles finishing fourth from bottom, which would have normally just seen them survive, but four teams had to be relegated that year so it was hard luck for Palace.

  • Wolves 4-0 Crystal Palace, 1st March 2003, Division 1

Our next encounter took place in the early noughties, with Wolves this time doing the hammering in Division 1 (now the Championship) clash. The Molineux men were again chasing the dream of Premier League football with Dave Jones at the helm and the team sitting again in the playoff positions.

Palace on the other hand were mid-table under the guidance of Trevor Francis, with the pressure beginning to heat up on the ex-England international from the expectant fan base.

Wolves were without a win at home for three months, so Palace were quietly confident of coming away with something from the Molineux.

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It started out as quite a drab affair, with the first shot not coming until the 18th minute from Wolves striker Kenny Miller. With half-time approaching and the game still goalless, it was clear to see why Wolves had not won for such a long time at home.

Then the team in old gold struck gold, with winger Mark Kennedy crossing the ball in dangerously, to give a tap-in for Miller from close range. The start of the second half did not prove to be too fruitful for either side. Palace began to throw more men forward searching for an equaliser.

It was in the 77th minute that the game came alive. More great work from Kennedy saw the Irishman get another dangerous cross into the box, with Dean Sturridge tapping in Wolves' second after just coming on as a substitute.

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Wolves then added a third a few minutes later, thanks to a superb ball through by Colin Cameron, in which Miller latched onto and fired the ball magnificently into the corner of the net from 18-yards out. 

It was not over for Palace just yet, as defender Darren Powell pulled down Miller in the box, with the referee awarding Wolves a penalty. The Scot stepped up and slotted the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to complete his hat-trick. 

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A fine long-awaited win for Wolves at home, who would then go on to finally get their return to the top flight for the first time in 19 years, after winning promotion via the playoffs. Palace, on the other hand, sacked Francis shortly after the game, but did manage to achieve promotion themselves the season after, also via the playoffs. 

  • Wolves 2-2 Crystal Palace, 23rd January 2010, FA Cup fourth round

Our last classic encounter took place nearly over a decade ago, in the fourth round of the FA Cup. Wolves had made seven changes from their last game, as manager Mick McCarthy rested his players to prioritize their survival chances in the Premier League.

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In the opposing dugout at Molineux was Neil Warnock, whose boots McCarthy used to clean during his days as an apprentice at Barnsley. Palace were at the time on the brink of going into administration, with the club's finances in complete disarray. 

Not only that, but the Eagles were sitting just above the relegation zone in the Championship. They needed a good cup run both financially and to give the club a lift. 

Palace got off to the perfect start, with a Darren Ambrose corner being headed in by Alan Lee after just 3 minutes. Wolves fired back in the 37th minute with a fine volley from David Jones after being teed up by Andrew Surman.

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With both teams level at half-time, the game was well and truly up for grabs and it was Palace who again took the initiative. A few minutes into the second half, the Eagles were awarded a free-kick, in which Ambrose curled a peach of a strike past Wolves keeper Wayne Hennessey

Palace were beginning to feel that their luck was changing, with victory in sight and a place in the fifth round almost secured. Then Wolves struck again. In the 84th minute, Kevin Foley sent in a cross to Ronald Zubar, who chested the ball down and volleyed it past the Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

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The final whistle came and it looked like Wolves had avoided an upset. That was until the replay at Selhurst Park came, where Palace smashed Wolves 3-1.

The Wanderers did manage to get a draw in the league against Liverpool though beforehand, so McCarthy will feel his decision to rest players was completely justified. 

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