Warnock's Whingers 1 Bristol City 2
Saturday 10th May 2008 12:15pm
I apologise in advance to the many genuine Crystal Palace fans that I spoke to before and after the game. You are not the whingers, but your current manager is.
Seldom have I felt the need to criticise an opposition manger, but seldom have I witnessed such a bile ridden torrent of unmitigated and bitter drivel as we have received on two ocassions against Crystal Palace this season. Can the man not be a man and admit his side lost out, on the day, to the better side, on the day? I felt sure that we were going to get a more gracious and magnanimous response from the man. After all, the tactics and spirit that we showed in this game were typical of any Warnock team. His team were out-thought, out-fought and out-thugged and he didn't like it. And this was the referees fault? This was our players fault? This was our managers fault? No, Mr Warnock, you tasted your own medicine and it was bitter wasn't it?
City started the game well forcing two corners in the opening two minutes, neither of which came to anything. Palace then had their best spell of the game with Sinclair and Moses causing us problems with their twisting and turning and electric pace. None of this came to much. A trip on the edge of the box looked, from where I was standing at the other end of the pitch and behind a pillar, to have earnt them a penalty. Fortunately it was just outside the box and the free kick came to nothing. A few long distance attempts didn't trouble Basso. When he was rounded a tame finish saw McAllister clear off the line. City ended the half strongly. A breakaway by Bradley Orr on the right saw his whipped cross a little behind Dele Adebola and yet he generated tremendous power on his header and the magnificent Speroni, diving low to his left, saved superbly tipping the ball round the post for a corner. McIndoe appeared to be through on goal but a fantastic last ditch tackle by Jose Fonte sent him sprawling. I didn't think it was a penalty at the time, the assistant didn't give it and the referee was too far away to have a proper view. McIndoe was incensed and was lucky to escape a booking as he chased after the referee and whinged his own futile case.
The second half I felt was all City, particularly after James Scowcroft's run was stopped in it's tracks by a clear hamstring pull. The grimace on his face made me wince in my position in the stand next to him. I wish him a speedy recovery. His treatment on the pitch delayed the game by all of the injury time allowed at the end of the game, so yet again Neil Warnock has no cause to complain. The goal when it came was beautifully crafted. McIndoe rolled the ball for Noble to pass inside the box to Nick Carle whose first time reverse pass found Louis Carey steaming in and he curled a cultured shot into the top corner to Speroni's left. One nil to City and delerium in the away stand. Marvin Elliott was booked as two players challenged for a high ball, both with feet raised. Neither made contact with the ball. The Palace player came off worse and the referee took appropriate action. This was a sending off in the eyes of Neil Warnock. Then Palace began to press for a late equaliser and a few mazy runs had our defence at sixes and sevens but chances were not being taken. Bradley Orr twice took the ball out of Basso's hands, but he is a hot-headed Liverpudlian and can be excused. One however caused a panicked defence to concede a late penalty which was calmly slotted home even though Basso dived the right way. But then the moment of the game that sent the away support into raptures, and earnt City their deserved outcome. Nick Carle dived in where boots were flying and his header found David Noble, whose shot from 30 yards nestled in the top left hand corner and the first leg had resulted in an unlikely away win.
I got carried away and did not leave London until 9:40pm yesterday evening. But every penny spent on Old Rosey in Clapham Junction, and on Aspells in West Hampstead, was worth it. That was one of those days that just had to be savoured.
I got home at 11pm and put on SkySports news to see that wonderful goal one more time (and repeat it another 50 times). But instead I am treated to Neil Warnock's drivel. All the papers were full of him pre-match and post-match was similar. Why do these attention seekers get attention? They should be ignored like the pre-school children they behave like. If he says something enough he must think people will eventually believe it is true. He is wrong. His side was beaten by the better side and he should be man enough to admit it. I'd love it if we beat them now, love it.
Steve Stammers - Sunday Mirror
Steve Tongue - Sunday independent