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Fixture News

Tuesday's Top Tens: Fixture Finales

17 June 2014

With the fixtures for the 2014/15 Barclays Premier League season set to be released at 9am tomorrow morning, this week’s edition of Tuesday's Top Tens sees us revisit Crystal Palace's most memorable final day finishes from campaigns gone by. 

10) Crystal Palace 4-1 Birmingham City, Saturday 13th May 1989
Palace went into the final game of the 1988/89 season knowing that a play-off place was already secure, but with automatic promotion to the top flight still an outside possibility.

Ian Wright gave the hosts an early lead and, while the game was delayed following a pitch invasion from Birmingham fans, news filtered through that promotion rivals Manchester City were losing at Bradford.

The Eagles were buoyant and flew into a 4-0 half time lead, as Wright completed his hat-trick, but the atmosphere inside Selhurst Park was soon dampened by news of a Citizens equaliser at Valley Parade. 

A sombre mood fell over SE25 as that 1-1 scoreline was confirmed as the final score, meaning Palace would be left to battle it out in the play-offs for a place in the old First Division.

But this resounding victory gave the Eagles momentum, which ultimately saw them overcome Swindon Town and Blackburn Rovers in the play-offs to secure promotion.  

Sunday 4th May 20089) Crystal Palace 5-0 Burnley,
The first of three clashes with Burnley to make our top 10, Palace hosted the Clarets on the final day of the 2007/08 season knowing that they had to win to make certain of their place in the Championship play-offs. 

The Eagles were competing with Watford, Wolves and Ipswich to claim the remaining two play-off places up for grabs – and the early jitters around Selhurst Park were settled when Clarke Carlisle conceded an early penalty and was sent off for his challenge on Scott Sinclair. 

Ben Watson converted the penalty to give the Eagles an 8th minute advantage, which was doubled through Victor Moses just two minutes later. 

Tom Soares slammed home from inside the six yard box to make it 3-0 before half time and leave the hosts cruising towards a top six finish. 

Second half strikes from Sinclair and Clinton Morrison put the gloss on a commanding Palace performance as they finished 5th – only to be defeated by Bristol City in the play-off semi-finals. 

Sunday 15th May 20058) Charlton Athletic 2-2 Crystal Palace,
In one of the most memorable final days in Premier League history, Palace made the short trip to Charlton in May 2005 as one of four teams looking to avoid the drop on Survival Sunday.  

All three relegation places were still undecided going into the last game of the season, with the Eagles, Norwich City, Southampton and West Bromwich Albion all battling to claim that magic 17th place.

Norwich were in the driving seat but they were humbled at Fulham, leaving the race for survival wide open. 

Palace were behind at The Valley at half time after Bryan Hughes’ goal, but strikes from Dougie Freedman and Andrew Johnson put the Eagles in front and on course for the victory that would secure survival.

But Jonathan Fortune’s header eight minutes from time earned the Addicks a point and sent Palace down at the expense of West Brom, who defeated Portsmouth to secure a great escape. 

Wednesday 11th May 1977 7) Wrexham 2-4 Crystal Palace,
After three consecutive wins, Palace travelled to Wrexham in their final game of the 1976/77 season knowing that only a victory would keep them in the hunt for promotion. 

The Welsh side occupied the third and final promotion berth going into this match and boasted an unbeaten home record ahead of the Eagles’ visit. 

But it was Palace who opened up a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from David Swindlehurst and Steve Perrin either side of half time.

That lead quickly evaporated though as Wrexham rallied to level at 2-2, before the Eagles hit two late goals through substitute Rachid Harkouk and Jeff Bourne to claim a magnificent 4-2 victory and climb above Wrexham into the third and final promotion place.

Wrexham still had their final game to play though against champions Mansfield, knowing that a win would deny Palace a return to Division Two. But the Welsh outfit crashed to defeat, leaving Terry Venables’ men to celebrate promotion at the end of his first season in charge at Selhurst Park. 

Saturday 4th May 20136) Crystal Palace 3-2 Peterborough United,
Having occupied a top six spot for much of the season, Palace went into the final day of the 2012/13 Championship campaign unsure of their play-off place, following a run of nine games without a win.

Peterborough came to Selhurst Park in need of a result themselves to avoid dropping back into League One and it was the visitors who took the lead after 28 minutes through Lee Tomlin to leave nerves jangling in SE25. 

The Eagles piled the pressure on in search of an equaliser though, which eventually came right on the stroke of half time. Danny Gabbidon was fouled by Gabriel Zakuani in the penalty area and Glenn Murray duly converted his 31st goal of the season from 12 yards. 

The Posh got their noses back in front though just after the hour mark through Nathaniel Mendez-Laing and it seemed as though they would escape relegation, even after substitute Kevin Phillips drew the Eagles level with a rocket from the edge of the box.

But in stoppage time, up popped Mile Jedinak to head home a dramatic winner, which confirmed 5th place for Palace and sent the Posh down.

The win gave the Eagles huge momentum going into the play-offs, which resulted in a 1-0 win over Watford at Wembley and a place in the Premier League. 

Monday 6th April 19705) Crystal Palace 1-0 Manchester City,
Crystal Palace were bottom of the Division One table going into their final game of the 1969/70 season against Manchester City, knowing that they needed a win to give themselves any hope of staying up.

Having claimed their only away win of the season at Maine Road a few weeks previous, Glaziers fans were in high spirits and the 27,704 supporters inside Selhurst Park were rewarded for their optimism when Roger Hoy struck the only goal of the game. 

That took Palace out of the relegation places, but Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday both had a game remaining to overtake them. 

But both sides failed to get the results they needed to climb out of the bottom two, leaving the south Londoners to enjoy another season of top flight football. 

Tuesday 17th May 19834) Crystal Palace 1-0 Burnley,
After the original fixture between these two sides had to be re-arranged, Palace took on Burnley the Tuesday after everyone else in Division Two had completed their fixtures.

That meant that, in a tightly-bunched relegation battle, both teams knew what they had to do in order to survive in the second tier. 

For Palace, who lay above the bottom three on goal difference, a draw would be enough to secure their Division Two status, while second-from-bottom Burnley knew only a victory would see them stay up at the Eagles’ expense. 

Palace had lost just three of their 20 home games going into this fixture, but it was their woeful away form that had seen them become embroiled in the relegation dogfight.

Again though, it was their form at Selhurst that came up trumps as a close-range finish from Ian Edwards late in the day secured the Eagles’ second tier status for another season and sparked pandemonium in SE25. 

Sunday 6th May 20013) Stockport County 0-1 Crystal Palace,
After boss Alan Smith departed with just two games of the 2000/01 Division One season remaining, Palace faced a seemingly impossible task to stay in the second tier. 

But after Steve Kember oversaw a 4-2 victory over Portsmouth at Fratton Park, the Eagles went into the final day with hope, knowing that a win over Stockport - coupled with defeat for Huddersfield at home to Birmingham - would see them pull off an unlikely escape. 

With Birmingham leading 2-1 going into the dying embers of the season, Palace knew that a late goal would seal survival – and in the 87th minute, up stepped Dougie Freedman to provide it.

The Scot picked the ball up and ran at the County defence, worming his way into the penalty area before firing home a stunning right-footed shot to cue memorable scenes of joy at Edgeley Park. 

Friday 11th May 19792) Crystal Palace 2-0 Burnley,
Burnley were again the final day visitors to Selhurst Park on what turned out to be one of the most memorable days in the history of Crystal Palace Football Club. 

Due to a fixture postponement in the winter months, this game was played after the final Saturday of the season, meaning Palace knew exactly what they had to do to clinch a return to the First Division. 

A win for Brighton and Hove Albion that day had seen them hit the top of the table and only a win for Palace would deny them the title, while the Eagles also knew a draw would be enough to seal promotion behind the Seagulls.

In front of a record attendance of 51,482, Palace took the lead with less than quarter of an hour played. Vince Hilaire got away down the right and floated in a great cross for a young Ian Walsh to head home.

That’s the way it stayed for over an hour, before David Swindlehurst sealed the victory and the Division Two title with a right-footed drive just minutes before the final whistle as Selhurst Park erupted in celebration.  

Sunday 2nd May 20101) Sheffield Wednesday 2-2 Crystal Palace,
Following a turbulent 2009/10 season that saw Palace docked 10 points after slipping into administration, Paul Hart’s men went to Hillsborough on the final day in what was effectively a relegation play-off. 

The Owls knew they had to win to stay in the Championship, while a point would be enough to see Palace maintain their two-point advantage over the Yorkshire outfit and survive in the second tier. 

Alan Lee’s powerful header gave the visitors the perfect start after 24 minutes, but Leon Clarke equalised two minutes before the break to hand the momentum back to the hosts. 

But it was Palace who struck next when Darren Ambrose coolly converted Sean Scannell’s cut-back to send the travelling red and blue army into delirium with less than half an hour remaining. 

There was still time for Wednesday to set up a grandstand finish though when defender Darren Purse slid the ball home from close range on 87 minutes, but the Eagles held out through six nervous minutes of stoppage time to secure their Championship status for another season and, more importantly, their survival as a club.  

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