With both sides struggling for form so far this season, it was half-expected the Crystal Palace-Everton affair at a rain-soaked Selhurst yesterday wouldn’t have entertained – but that wasn’t the case.
David Unsworth and his Everton side were fortunate to steal a point away from SE25 as Palace continue to put good performances in, without getting the results they so desperately need.
The hosts were 1-0 up inside one minute as James McArthur tapped in following Jordan Pickford’s save from Ruben Loftus-Cheek. But, Everton were level shortly after as Oumar Niasse, a summer target for Palace went over in the box rather easily.
Leighton Baines stepped up and converted, but it was a decision which irked manager Roy Hodgson after the game.
“I’m pretty certain you asked David Unsworth the same question and he said that it was a foul, and now you’ll ask me and you’ll expect me to say that I didn’t think it was.
“The only reason it was a penalty is because the referee gave it, so we could discuss it until the cows come home, but they scored it and that is the end of it,” said Hodgson in his post-match press conference.
‘Two points’ dropped for Palace
After the penalty, Palace continued to push and the in-form Wilfried Zaha poked them in-front five minutes after the half-hour mark.
It looked as though Palace would go into the break 2-1 up, but calamity struck again as goalkeeper, Julian Speroni put his skipper Scott Dann under all sorts of pressure with a sloppy pass. Everton capitalised and the pantomime villain, Niasse slotted the ball under Speroni to make it 2-2.
Palace had chances in the second-half, especially through the returning Christian Benteke, but he failed to covert when through on Pickford’s goal late in the game.
And after the game, Hodgson couldn’t hide his disappointment at not getting three vital points: “It was two points lost, not thrown away. If I look at total performance over the 96 minutes then I believe we played well enough to win the game.”
“I work to get performances and make sure that the team understands it job, and that we go out on the field and give good performances, and certainly on this occasion we were far better than our opponents,” continued the 70-year-old.
Hodgson believes ‘good performances’ are key to getting results
Despite not getting the result on Saturday, the Eagles have certainly improved under Hodgson’s stewardship. With some winnable games coming up coupled with the form of some of his key men, Palace still have a chance of surviving this season.
Zaha and Loftus-Cheek have been playing well the last couple of weeks, and yesterday they once again showed they could be the difference for Palace this season if they both keep fit.
But, Hodgson believes, the results will come, saying: “We have to keep doing more of the same. If good performances are the key to getting results, then we’ll get them.”