On Monday evening a capacity crowd will be at Selhurst Park for the visit of Sunderland and once again we can all look forward to that unique atmosphere associated with watching Palace under the Selhurst lights.
Memories are made of nights like these and some of the biggest games in the club’s history have taken place under those floodlights, from major league encounters and the drama of the cup, to promotion nail-biters, and a member of the current squad has his own special memories about one of those incredible matches.
Andrew Johnson was part of the squad that took their place in the top flight in 2004 after a play-off final victory against West Ham United in Cardiff but it was a Friday night at Selhurst that he remembers most fondly.
After an amazing run of results, the club rose from relegation candidates to promotion hopefuls and having won a place in the end of season play-offs on the final day of the season we faced a highly fancied Sunderland side over two-legs, the first of which was played at Selhurst Park. Johnson has special memories of that night as Palace edged a five-goal thriller.
“We went into first the match on the back of a great run to reach the play-offs, the excitement amongst the fans was just unreal. We were really confident going into the game as we came into the play-offs as the form team and we knew that the place would be rocking on the night.
It certainly was and as we took to the field a capacity crowd was there to welcome us and as always with night games at Selhurst, the lights being on always moves the atmosphere up another level and we were all buzzing for the game.”
goal of that season to put Palace ahead moments after Sunderland had levelled at 2-2 and the striker can remember how the atmosphere gave his side the lift they needed to mount an immediate response.ndAndrew scored his 32
“We had just been pegged back but as their players were celebrating the place was going crazy to get our lads back into the match. Without a doubt as I was running towards their penalty area and looked up at goal the noise levels were incredible and as the shot went past Mart Poom the place went crazy.
When people talk to me about the atmosphere at night games I always recall the reaction from the fans that evening, I would have to say that it always makes me feel nervous just thinking back to that semi-final – the difference the Palace support made that game was just unreal.”
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