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The Eagles' March To The Arch

17 May 2016

Having drawn four Premier League sides in the five rounds of the competition and playing just once at Selhurst Park, the Eagles have defied the odds to reach the FA Cup final. 

Just like in 1990, Alan Pardew’s Palace will face Manchester United in the showpiece, aiming to get their hands on the most famous trophy in world club football for the first time. Here we look back at their journey from start to finish.

Southampton 1-2 Crystal Palace
St Mary’s Stadium
Saturday 9th January

Southampton: Romeu 51
Palace: Ward 29, Zaha 68

Southampton: Stekelenburg, Martina, van Dijk, Fonte, Yoshida (Juanmi 46), Targett, Romeu, Clasie (Ward-Prowse 76), Davis (Tadic 46), Mane, Long. Subs not used: Gazzaniga, Cedric, Reed, Seager.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Cabaye (Jedinak 83), Ledley, Zaha, Mutch (Sako 57), Puncheon, Campbell (Chamakh 76). Subs not used: Speroni, Kelly, Hangeland, Lee.

The first hurdle of the run to the final was overcome as the Eagles knocked Southampton out for the second successive season thanks to Wilfried Zaha’s winner on the south coast in a closely fought encounter.

They went ahead on 29 minutes when Jason Puncheon cut the ball back to ex-Portsmouth man Joel Ward to fire home, but just after the break Oriol Romeu netted a rebound after Wayne Hennessey saved from Cuco Martina.

In the second half  Zaha scored a volley after Puncheon had forced Maarten Stekelenburg into a superb save, but the visitors weathered a late storm that saw Jose Fonte and Virgil van Dijk go close with headers in stoppage time, with the latter striking the post, before Hennessey saved a James Ward-Prowse free-kick to ensure Palace’s passage to round four.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City
Selhurst Park
Saturday 30th January

Palace: Zaha 19

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Delaney, Dann, Souare, Ledley (Jedinak 46), Cabaye (Mutch 46), Zaha, Puncheon, Lee, Campbell (Chamakh 81): Subs not used: Speroni, Mariappa, Hangeland, Kelly.

Stoke: Haugaard, Bardsley, Wilson, Wollscheid, Pieters, van Ginkel, Ireland, Shaqiri, Bojan (Crouch 74), Odemwingie (Diouf 74), Joselu. Subs not used: Butland, Teixeira, Muniesa, Whelan, Afellay.

For the second round in succession Wilfried Zaha was Palace’s hero as he once again grabbed the crucial goal to ensure his side progressed past the Potters in an entertaining encounter.

The winger produced the game’s telling contribution on 17 minutes by netting a superb individual goal, squeezing through the visiting defence and calmly finishing the opportunity, and he proved to be a constant menace throughout as he was involved in the best of the Eagles’ play, who possibly should have won by a larger margin.

Stoke had chances to draw level but some wasteful shooting from Xherdan Shaqiri and Joselu ensured Wayne Hennessey kept his sheet clean in what would be the only home game in Palace’s  run to the final.

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Crystal Palace
White Hart Lane
Sunday 21st February

Palace: Kelly 45+1

Tottenham: Vorm, Walker, Dier, Wimmer, Rose, Bentaleb, Dembele (Eriksen 45), Alli (Mason 79), Onomah, Son (Chadli 66), Kane. Subs not used: McGee, Alderweireld, Trippier, Winks.

Palace‬: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly, Zaha, Cabaye (Jedinak 79), Ledley, Mutch, Wickham, Adebayor (Bolasie 75). Subs not used: McCarthy, Mariappa, Lee, Campbell, Gayle.

Martin Kelly picked the perfect time to score his first Palace goal as his rocket gave launch to the club’s ambitions of going all the way in the competition.

Spurs enjoyed most of the chances in the first half with Yohan Cabaye blocking Dele Alli’s header on the line before Josh Onomah nodded the rebound over from a few yards out, and then Alli saw a shot strike both posts before being cleared by Joel Ward.

Having rode their luck, Palace pounced in first half stoppage-time as Wilfried Zaha found Kelly who lashed home his first goal since November 2011, and after the break some good saves by Wayne Hennessey prevented Harry Kane from registering and allowed Palace to reach the last eight for the first time since 1995.

Reading 0-2 Crystal Palace
Madejski Stadium
Friday 11th March

Palace: Cabaye 86 (pen), Campbell 90+4

Reading: Al-Habsi, Gunter, McShane, Cooper, Obita (Rakels 90), Robson-Kanu, Hector, Norwood (Williams 75), Quinn, John, Cox (Vydra 60). Subs not used: Bond, Ferdinand, McCleary, Piazon.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Zaha, Cabaye, Jedinak, Ledley (Sako 79), Bolasie (Campbell 90), Adebayor. Subs not used: McCarthy, Kelly, Puncheon, Mutch, Gayle.

Two late goals helped the Eagles into the FA Cup semi-finals for the fourth time in their history as they saw off a spirited challenge from Reading who had look to have secured a replay before two late goals.

Palace dominated the majority of the game and tested Ali Al-Habsi numerous times in the 90 minutes, with Emmanuel Adebayor, Yohan Cabaye and Yannick Bolasie all seeing good opportunities saved by the Royals keeper.

But with six minutes to go Bolasie was tugged back in the box by Jake Cooper who was shown a second yellow card and Cabaye netted from 12 yards, and in stoppage-time Fraizer Campbell scored from a yard out after Al-Habsi had tipped his effort onto a post to set up a Wembley rematch with Watford.

Crystal Palace 1-0 Watford
Wembley Stadium
Sunday 24th April

Palace: Bolasie 6, Wickham 61
Watford: Deeney 55

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Zaha, Jedinak, Cabaye, Puncheon (Sako 81), Bolasie (McArthur 74), Wickham (Adebayor 86). Subs not used: Speroni, Kelly, Ledley, Gayle.

Watford: Pantilimon, Nyom, (Anya 83), Cathcart, Britos, Ake, Abdi (Guedioura 56), Capoue (Suarez 32), Watson, Jurado, Deeney, Ighalo. Subs not used: Gomes, Prodl, Behrami, Berguis.

Connor Wickham’s header ensured that the Eagles would face Manchester United in a 1990 repeat as Palace once again got the better of Watford at Wembley.

Yannick Bolasie eased any early nerves by heading home in just the sixth minute to score on his first appearance at the venue he grew up down the road from, but Troy Deeney would be the next to get on the end of a corner on 55 minutes.

But soon after Wickham used all his aerial prowess to head in high cross from Pape Souare and put his side back in front, ultimately setting up a return to the national stadium and giving Alan Pardew a chance to return to Wembley with the Eagles and attempt to lift the FA Cup.

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