This is the matchday that every Crystal Palace and Brighton & Hove Albion fan is waiting for during the season. The A23 derby will be disputed on Monday at Selhurst Park, between two teams in contrasting form.
The fierce rivalry between these two teams began in the late 70's when they concurrently rised from the Third Division to the First Division. It is one of the most even derbies as they both lie with 40 wins each. Most recently, across the last eight games, each team has won three games and drew the other two games remaining.
The FA Cup trilogy
This was the era where the A23 derby commenced. In 1976, Terry Venables became Cystal Palace manager and Alan Mullery Brighton manager. Both players coincided at Tottenham where Venables was second captain in command to Mullery's captaincy at the club. In the wake of this conflict, this is how the rivalry started.
That same season they were drawn in the first round of the FA Cup. The first leg ended up in a 2-2 draw. After the game, Mullery complained about Crystal Palace's roughness and dirty tactics. Those comments led to a conflict in the second leg where the game ended in another draw (1-1) after extra time, meaning they would have to face a second replay despite Brighton's dominance in the field.
During the third and last game, Crystal Palace took the lead after 18 minutes thanks to Phil Holder. Brighton fully dominated the game, having a disallowed goal after a ´handball´ which turned out to be legitimate and a penalty missed in the last minutes of the game. The game ended 1-0 to the eagles who won a ticket to the next round.
As the referee blowed his whistle, the game heated up and confrontations happened on and off the pitch. Mullery had to be escorted by the police as he was swearing and flicking fingers to the Palace fans. After the clash, the manager went afterwards to the opponents dressing room, threw five pounds to the floor and directed his word to Venables: “Your team's not worth that.” Consequently, the Brighton manager got fined after his unforgivable acts.
“As I walked back down the tunnel, Palace fans spat all over me. I gave them two fingers, then did an awful interview bad-mouthing their supporters and saying I wouldn't give a fiver for any of their players”, revealed Mullery in his autobiography.
Brighton 3-0 Crystal Palace
In the 12/13 season, they faced each other four times, two in the regular season and the other two in the Play-Offs. Brighton had their worst run in history as they stood 25 years without beating their enemy.
After losing 3-0 at Selhust Park in Decemeber, the seagulls got their revenge in a 3-0 home win thanks to Leonardo Ulloa who scored a double. This made Brighton boost their hopes of clinching a place in the play-offs which they finally did. Meanwhile, Crystal Palace carried on with their bad streak towards the end of the season.
Brighton 0-2 Crystal Palace
Last meeting in the Championship between these two rivals was a Championship Play-Off Semi-final in May 2013. The second leg was a battle after the first leg ended goalless. Wilfried Zaha turned out to be the goalscorer for both goals who would then consequently sign for Manchester United after his performances.
This will be the 108th game, 40 wins to each team and 27 draws. Sunday will be the first derby with fans since the pandemic and the Palace fans will have the privilege to attend to the game. Brighton are in a better form after winning 5 of their first 6 games wheras Crystal Palace have only won one game and drawn two more.