(actual posting date: 16 October)
Match nine – vs West Ham (home)
Total mileage 1915.9 miles
This was supposed to be an easy one – both for me (just the normal 15 mile round trip to Selhurst Park) and for the team. Palace had been on excellent form up to the international break, whilst West Ham had looked very poor so far this season.
However, Palace can be relied upon to give a team on a bad run a helping hand at Selhurst Park (look at our games against Sunderland and Aston Villa last season). West Ham were much the better team in the first half and took a deserved lead. Palace then squandered a chance to equalise late in the half when Christian Benteke hit one of the worst penalties ever seen at Selhurst Park (and there’s some competition for that). Benteke almost made amends a minute later, but his header struck the post. Palace improved in the second half but couldn’t find the equaliser, even after West Ham were reduced to 10 men, while West Ham threatened on the break, Twice this season Palace have scored crucial goals in injury time, but a great save from Adrian prevented Conor Wickham making it three times and the game finished 1-0.
(Incidentally, it’s not just Palace who show such generosity to struggling teams. Before the game as Middlesbrough – at which stage Palace were on a terrible run – a Boro fan said they always lost to teams on bad runs: and so it proved.)
It also wasn’t as easy a ride for me as I might have expected. I’ve been struggling with a heavy cold (aka man flu) since I returned from Everton; and my left shoulder/back is continuing to cause me pain. So the ride felt much harder work than it should have done, particularly on the way there. The only good news was that I missed the worst of the rain – it absolutely chucked it down during the match, but there was only light rain at worst while I was on the bike.