“He looked great, he looked fresh. He knows how much I love him and he will always play in my team”.
Dougie Freedman on Darren Ambrose
The thoughts of just one of the men who regard Palace’s number 7 so highly. It is however a shame that if any more of Ambrose’s fans were to utter similar tender words then a restraining order would probably be required, as more emotive feelings towards the hero we all worship could surface!
As the song we chant goes; ‘We Love You, We Love You, We Love You’; simply referring to the club he plies his trade for, with a slight tweaking, identical lines could become directed towards Ambrose. And after yesterday, doesn’t he deserve it!
Chasing shadows for much of the game, one moment set him apart from the basement dwellers on show in both sides; a wonderous volley from 25 yards which won the game for Palace ensured a priceless 5 point gap between us and Sheffield United, our opponents on the day.
Ambrose continually proves that he is capable of the extraordinary and sublime – as well as the ridiculous as he could have sealed the game late on but blazed hopelessly into the Holmesdale. Regardless, Darren has been at Palace for a mere 18 months and has scored ridiculously superb goals. Here are my top 5:
5) Watford H
Ambrose scored the opener in this match on his long-awaited return from injury. He ensured it was a memorable comeback as he curled a strike which looked destined for the crowd into the top corner. Just imagine how astonished Andy Gray would have been had he commentated on this one! And the other two from Owen Garvan aren’t too shabby either.
4) Nottingham Forest H
Set piece specials are Ambrose’s forte – this one against Forest was scored against Lee Camp, Julian Speroni’s understudy as the Championship’s best keeper. He had no hope!
3) Sheffield Wednesday A
Not the most spectacular, but probably the most memorable and vital one of his brief Palace career. The horrifically arduous day which lasted an age took fans to the edge. But one man remained cool and calmly slotted a Sean Scannell cross into the bottom corner to reduce the chances of a Wednesday victory.
2) Aston Villa H
Another stage for Ambrose to step up to; live on ITV, underdogs from the start and up against a high-flying Aston Villa side coached by the charismatic Martin O’Neill. At 1-1, Palace weren’t looking the favourites to score next or come out with any result but a 37-yard screamer took everyone by surprise!
1) Sheffield United H
My number one simply because of the reaction time and execution. It may look like a bad first touch but even so, Darren more than makes up for it! A nice team move too, one that even stemmed from that hopeless spoon David Wright seems to frequently play. Nevertheless, a touch of class finished a silky move and 3 points were secured.