Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Crystal Palace - Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace FC
Selhurst Park
SE25 6PU

0208 768 6000

Matchday Number: 54
Tuesday 20th February 2001

Wimbledon 2-2 Wycombe Wanderers (Wycombe win 8-7 on penalties)
FA Cup 5th Round Replay

My only visit to Selhurst Park came in the 2000-01 season in the midst of Wycombe's amazing run to the semi finals of the FA Cup. And this was the most amazing match of the lot, in fact the best match I have ever seen. At the time, Selhurst Park was home to the original Wimbledon FC, before they were kicked out of the league to make way for MK Dons. This was a replay, after an entertaining 2-2 draw at Adams Park in the original game. And another night of high drama was in store, and it cannot be put any better than it was on Wycombe's fan site Chairboys on the net.

It's not often that three hours in South London brings so much drama, tension and emotion. After the previous Saturday's 2-2 draw at Adams Park there was always going to be more twists in this tale but the script writers worked overtime on this one and it wasn't just the players who were drained at the end.

As the game kicked off at 7.45pm there were probably around 2,000 Wycombe supporters in the ground. Traffic delays had held up most of the estimated 35 coaches travelling from High Wycombe and they would have missed the first real chance of the game on 11 minutes. A clever flick through from Michael Simpson found Steve Brown 25 yards from goal and 'Brownie's' lob had Dons' 'keeper Kelvin Davis back peddling to tip the ball over. A minute later The Dons had taken the lead when they broke from a Wycombe corner, Gareth Ainsworth picking up possession on the half-way line and running through before slotting past Martin Taylor from 12 yards. The goal gave the home side confidence and Taylor had to be alert to grab the ball from Patrick Agyemang in the 17th minute following a cross from the right.
A minute later Wycombe had strong claims for a penalty waved away after Brown's cross looked to have struck Darren Holloway on the arm. By now the travelling contingent had risen to over 4,000 and as the atmosphere livened up Wycombe struck. The goal wasn't a classic but it will be one that Dave Carroll will remember for a long time. Carroll was first on hand to stick home Andy Rammell's parried shot following Dannie Bulman's deflected drive from 30 yards.
In case anybody was in any doubt, this goal meant Wycombe meant business and although Agyemang glanced a header wide in the 36th minute, Taylor was rarely troubled.
The half ended in disarray for Wycombe as first Andy Rammell limped off with a reaction to his groin strain. Rambo's replacement Andy Baird was on the field just three minutes before he was carried off following a challenge from Mark Williams 25 yards from the Wimbledon goal. After Sam Parkin had replaced the unlucky Baird, Jamie Bates saw his free-kick charged down by The Dons defence.
Half-time Wimbledon 1 Wycombe 1
Wycombe enjoyed a good spell of possession immediately following the interval although like Wimbledon failed test the opposing 'keeper. Chris Vinnicombe mis-hit a shot on 65 minutes after Parkin had delivered from the right and two minutes later Simpson shot past the far post after Wycombe had broke with Jason Euell laying injured. Referee Eddie Wolstenholme eventually booked Jason Cousins for the original foul and minutes later Wycombe were reduced to ten men. Simpson had been booked earlier in the half for a challenge on Ainsworth and when the same player was body checked in the 70th minute the official flashed another yellow and then a red. To add to Wycombe's problems, Dave Carroll broke down with an injury in the 77th minute and was replaced by Ben Townsend.
With 90 minutes and extra-time approaching the play switched from end to end. First Vinnicombe made a important clearance at the near post after the Dons had broke down the right channel. Then in the 90th minute Parkin almost picked up a loose clearance from Davis. In the second minute of stoppage time a 40 yard free-kick from Cousins almost found its way to the head of Paul McCarthy as the ball flew inches past the post.
It was in the final minute of the allotted four minutes of stoppage that it looked like Wycombe would finally bow out. Dons' substitute Marcus Gayle got clear down the left and crossed from the bye-line. McCarthy and Wayne Gray went up for the ball at the near post and suddenly the referee was pointing to the spot for handball against 'Macca'. The decision looked harsh but there was another twist in the tale as Taylor dived to his right to save Ardley's spot-kick.
90 minutes Wycombe 1 Wimbledon 1

Martin Taylor's injury time save had given Wycombe a fully deserved reprieve but there was still an hour of high tension and incident to come.
Extra-time was barely 30 seconds old before Wayne Gray turned neatly in the Wycombe box before lifting the ball past Martin from 15 yards.
Was there a way back now? In normal circumstances probably not but as this season's FA Cup run has proved Wycombe will not lay down and die.
Within a couple of minutes of falling behind Ben Townsend had a great opportunity to level the scores again but the 19 year old sliced horribly wide at the far post. Townsend was in action at the other end three minutes later - bravely diving in to clear with his head.
Parkin almost got in from the left as the clock pushed past 100 minutes and as the first-half of extra-time ended Euell took the ball too wide after wanting an extra touch following a Dons breakaway.
Wycombe's final effort to pull the tie level was to move McCarthy up front but it looked all in vein and the tie could have been The Dons but for an incredible one-handed save from Euell's six yard effort with three minutes left.
So then, into the 120th minute. Ryan manages to get the ball out to Parkin on the left, the Chelsea youngster then makes some room before squaring the ball across to Bulman who mis-kicks his shot to the right of goal where Macca sticks out a leg and the ball is in the net. Cue terrace mayhem!
120 minutes Wycombe 2 Wimbledon 2

You had to witness the penalty shoot-out to appreciate the tension but this is how it went with Steve Brown being the first player-up.

1-0 Steve Brown - scored with a firm strike
1-0 Kenny Cunnigham - missed, hit the right corner of crossbar and post
2-0 Jason Cousins - scored with another clean strike
2-1 Jason Euell - scored just got the ball past Taylor's right
2-1 Keith Ryan - missed, high over the bar to the left.
2-2 Marcus Gayle - scored, sent Taylor the wrong way
3-2 Dannie Bulman - scored, top left corner
3-3 Jonathan Hunt - scored to Taylor's right
4-3 Sam Parkin - scored, stroked home
4-4 Neal Ardley - scored, sent Taylor the wrong way
5-4 Chris Vinnicombe - scored, top left corner
5-5 Darren Holloway - scored, top left corner
6-5 Ben Townsend - scored, bottom right corner
6-6 Wayne Gray - scored, to Taylor's left
6-6 Jamie Bates - saved, poor penalty saved to Davis' left
6-6 Peter Hawkins - saved, Taylor blocks on the line and then grabs the ball just before it looks like it might roll in and win the tie for The Dons
7-6 Paul McCarthy - scored, with cool strike
7-7 Kelvin Davis - scored, smashed home
8-7 Martin Taylor - scored, placed to Davis' right
8-7 Mark Williams - missed, the ball goes over the bar and Taylor races towards the Wycombe players and the celebrations can begin.

I don't remember that much about SELHURST PARK with regards to the surrounding area. I do know the ground is all seater though and the most impressive stand is the Holmesdale Road Stand, where most of the home fans sit behind one of the goals. The opposite end is also fairly modern - the Whitehorse Lane Stand having executive boxes at the back of it. Away fans get part of the Arthur Wait stand, where supporting pillars and a low roof make some seats have a restricted view. Completing the set is another older stand, the Main Stand.Sadly I didn't get any pictures at the time, but have managed to get some random ones off of Flickr

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