Wham, Bam, Thank You Rams
8:59am Monday 4th March 2013 in Football
By Tom Hughes
Ahead of the game at Derby, Palace had not won on their travels since beating Peterborough in November. Realistically, that’s not automatic promotion form.
To give this some context, our last away win came at the end of the week when Barack Obama was elected for his second term as President of a country that was still being battered by super-storm Sandy, and Celtic beat Barcelona in Europe.
And only deranged individuals had put up their Christmas decorations.
Put like that, our brilliant 2-1 victory at London Road on November 10 seemed very distant indeed.
Not that things had been all doom and gloom in the build-up to Friday night's game. After all, Palace had taken 10 points from a possible 15 during February.
But the thought of a win on the road was still a distant one. Perhaps it’s a lingering psychological hangover from the 2010/11 season that I still consider a victory away from home as an extravagant luxury.
In that campaign the Eagles were hammered by Derby 5-0 at Pride Park…
While it may have come largely fortuitously, the first away win of 2013 reinforced how vastly superior this season’s team are compared with their 2010 counterparts.
Thankfully only a handful of players remain from the team that were thrashed by the Rams. And on Friday the most important of the surviving squad members was the omnipresent Julian Speroni.
It speaks volumes that this season the Argentinian has mainly avoided being the focal point of TV highlights.
For once, his heroics are more likely to be a footnote and he is not the only rational choice for player of the year (which he won three times in a row).
That’s not to say the stopper’s contribution in Derby should be overlooked. He made his usual parries and courageous blocks at the feet of attackers before topping it off with a more uncharacteristic and incredible penalty save.
But let's hope that Friday was a one-off - in goalkeeping terms, anyway.
From now on, I want to see Jules ignored by commentators and languidly whipping out his iPhone because there’s nothing else to do.
Tom Hughes writes for the Five Year Plan