Joel Ward was thrilled to continue his fine form in front of goal at the expense of his former south-coast rivals Southampton as he helped Palace into the FA Cup fourth round.
The right-back scored his third of the campaign to put the Eagles ahead against Southampton, and despite Oriol Romeu pulling the home side level Wilfried Zaha’s winner ensured Palace’s passage into the next round.
Former Portsmouth man Ward was delighted to once again be the Saints’ scourge, having also scored against them in a south-coast derby a few years ago, and on his goal he said: “I think it was on for me to get forward as they’d made a mistake and we capitalised on it and Punch set off, so I thought I might as well just go.
“Punch was very calm and I gave him a shout as I was coming into the box and he’s put it right in my path. It’s always nice to score a goal and thankfully I was in the right place at the right time and kept cool and slotted it in.
“I think we performed really well, they had a fast start and caused us some problems in the first half but defensively I felt that we coped with it very well, stayed in the game and took our chance when it came. We dug in deep in the second half and Wilf has done ever so well to hit the target and put the ball in the back of the net.”
The game comes in the middle of a busy month for the Eagles, who now face the prospect of a fourth round tie at the end of the month as well as Premier League games against Aston Villa and Manchester City next week, but Ward feels that the squad are feeling fine following the festive fixtures.
“I’m feeling good and I think we’re a good group and the staff are looking after us,” he added. “Training is good and the morale and fitness is going well and we’ve had a boost with people coming back from injury and people working their way up to match fitness.
“Somebody at home in the next round would be nice so we’ll just have to wait and see. We’re not too many wins away from the quarters or the semis and we want to go all the way and hopefully we can move on after the next round.”