The third game of the season saw The Mighty Palace face the in-form Goldney United. A battle of the Titans ensued.
Brystal Palace 3-1 Goldney United
Defence: Talki Talkington, Charles Case, Henry Wilson, Huxley Ogilvy.
Midfield: Jake Rogers, Dave Ratcliffe, Andy Quaile, Max Connolly.
Strikeforce: Declan Grady, Jamie Robertson-Macleod, Ollie Feather.
Galvanized by last week’s victory against the Geography XI, Palace looked to continue their late run of good form against early season high-flyers Goldney United.
Palace fielded a weakened squad amidst a recent injury crisis and the suspension of promising winger Jamie Budgett, following disciplinary action for a driving ban he received earlier in the week.
Palace started the game slowly with an early defensive error from Charles Case, which exposed them down the left.
A dangerous ball in from Goldney enabled Palace’s top scorer Henry Wilson to add to his impressive tally with a third own goal of the season, cutely placing the ball in the bottom-left corner with an instinctive first touch finish.
Palace refused to let their heads drop. They regrouped and quickly began to enjoy a period of sustained possession, with some deft passing and well formed triangles. Off the ball, Palace pressed high.
This swiftly brought results, as mercurial winger Andy Quaile pounced on a loose ball, raced down the flank and deftly beat the Keeper at the near post with a composed finish.
This drew Palace level on 10 minutes. From then on it was plain sailing; the high work rate off the ball combined with sublime passages of play meant Goldney stood little chance.
Midfielders Jake Rogers and David Ratcliffe settled nicely into their groove, quickly adapting to Palace’s new 4-1-3-2.
The defensive midfield role has proved to be a problem point for Palace of late, having lost highly rated youth prospect Charlie Gaynor to boyhood club Churchill A, but pint-size playmaker Ratcliffe filled the spot easily, dictating the tempo of the game from the off.
On the 20 minute mark Palace’s pressure and possession proved all too much for a lacklustre Goldney, with record transfer signing midfielder Oli Feather finally proving his worth, with a spectacular volley into the top right corner from the edge of the box.
The stunning strike ended a lengthy goal drought since his arrival from Badock in the off-season (a figure touted to be in the region of a 10 pack of Benson & Hedges and a Curly Wurly).
The ecstatic Feather was subsequently cautioned for ungentlemanly conduct after removing his shirt to reveal his impressive array of body art and performing the worm.
This second goal quickly silenced crude chants from the non-playing Goldney manager and even members of his own dressing room.
Palace continued to hound their opponents with threats coming predominantly down the wings and from the laser-like precision of wing back Talkington’s right boot.
Winger Connolly ran rings around the Goldney back four, until a suspect challenge on him by the Goldney keeper after rounding their right back for the umpteenth time resulted in a Palace corner.
Seeing the keeper off his line set piece specialist Rogers stepped up to the corner flag and curled the ball from the corner into the top right, just before the stroke of half time. Goldney’s faces dropped.
In the second half Connolly was taken off, feeling the effects of an earlier challenge (a suspected broken ankle), and with all substitutions made Palace had to soldier on a man down. Defensive-minded manager Deccio Di Gradi was only too happy to park the bus, employing the little known catenaccio (padlock) tactic.
This ensured Palace maintained their early advantage for the rest of the game. With the Palace defensive cohort on such good form, the game was effectively over by half time. 3-1 up, Palace just sat back and enjoyed their football until full time.
This Weeks MOTM: Huxley Ogilvy. Everything a centre-back should be; big, strong and has great facial hair.