Palace recorded their second away victory of the season with a relieving win over arch rivals Brighton at the Amex Stadium tonight in a 3-1 win. Late goals from Wilfried Zaha, his first in the league for over a year, Darren Ambrose and ex-Seagull Glenn Murray cancelled out an early Craig Mackail-Smith effort.
The rivalry flames had been well and truly stoked pre-game with football fans and pundits bemused as to why a game of such insignificant geography was being treated in such manner. Rather than reel off the past, Brighton currently appear to be in better condition than their rivals after years in the doldrums.
With the Seagulls flying that bit higher in their new abode they entered the game with real confidence; and took an early lead through Mackail-Smith’s tidy finish from a decent cross in.
It caught Palace a bit by surprise but they eased themselves into the game as Jonathan Williams, on his first league start, looked lively. Steadily, the Eagles took control and created some chances of their own in a difficult game to take hold of. Williams tried a shot, as did Scannell but both failed to find the net.
The hosts controlled Palace pressure until half-time, as the visitors threatened to give the partisan support a nasty shock before the break. Thankfully, a rejuvenated team re-emerged from the tunnel.
McCarthy saw a header cleared from the line while Gordon Greer somehow diverted a cross from the dangerous Zaha wide. Brighton looked flat and a goal for Palace would have been deserved but they couldn’t quite string it together in the final third, plus they had to be watchful of Craig Noone who always looked dangerous against the previously booked Ramage on the left.
Ambrose and Parr came off the bench further on into the game and altered the course of the match. Firstly though, a piece of individual brilliance from Zaha ended with the teenager finding the bottom corner of the net to equalise with 10 minutes remaining.
Palace rallied and with stoppage time approaching, they scored again. A lovely ball from Parr found Ambrose who had the easy task of finishing from about a yard to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the match. And to finish off a dominating display, boo-boy Murray curled a lovely shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards with seconds left.
3-1 away from home to the nemesis, what could be better? In truth, Brighton can play much better and upon the opener, they believed they’d done enough to claim the win, but Dougie’s men ensured that the points would be travelling up the A23, back to South London, taking the Amex Stadium’s unbeaten league record with them too.