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Ambrose decides top 5 Palace goals - with no room for United screamer

9 March 2021

Crystal Palace icon Darren Ambrose scored screamer after screamer in red and blue. One in particular stands out: a League Cup rocket against Manchester United. But, in his programme column for the recent United clash, Ambrose opted to pick his top five 'alternative' Palace goals.

Here are his decisions...

To hear more from Darren - including untold Palace stories, insight into a player's life and his views on modern football, make sure to grab your matchday programmes here!

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5) Brighton & Hove Albion (A), 2011

This was the easiest and closest goal I’ve scored. The reason it’s among my favourites is obvious: it was against Brighton. This was the first game they lost at the Amex and we were the ones to beat them.

I was getting a lot of stick from their fans while on the bench but I came on at 1-0 down and we ended up winning 3-1. Mine was the second goal, so I always wound up Glenn Murray about his being the consolation, mine the winner.

4) Preston North End (H), 2010

I played Dannsy in and he beat his man, got down the wing, whipped one across towards my feet and the defender sliced it right up in the air. I think I was about 12 yards out and I volleyed the ball at goal. It hit the bar, came off the line, hit the bar again and then went down and back off the bar a third time.

It’s not one many people will remember, but when I was 18 I scored for Ipswich against Brighton by hitting the bar three times and everyone said I would never score a goal like that again. When I did it for Palace, it took me back.

3) Watford (H), 2010 

I’d been injured for a while and came back into the team for this game. Watford were on the attack and we nicked the ball from them. Owen Garvan ran out and hit them on the counter, trying to play James Vaughan in. His pass hit a defender and the ball came to me 25 yards out; I put it on my right foot and bent it into the top corner.

It’s one of those goals that, for a right-footed player, you always want to score – it was the perfect angle. Garvs tries to claim an assist for that one, but I’m not having it.

2) Aston Villa (H), 2010

I tried to steer away from the obvious but couldn’t for these last two, starting with the Aston Villa free-kick. I wasn’t going to shoot at first but Clint Hill said: ‘Look, I can’t really be bothered to get in the box. Just have a strike.’

It’s one of those areas on the pitch where you don’t know what to do: should you dink it to the back post or should you play it short and get the game moving? At a full Selhurst in the FA Cup, I thought: ‘Let’s have a dig.’

It’s one of those goals I’m remembered for at Crystal Palace, along with the obvious. Premier League side, Brad Friedel in goal – it was special for me.

1) Sheffield Wednesday (A), 2010


Read Crystal Palace v West Bromwich Albion programme for Benteke, Ambrose, Parish and more

13 March 2021

This is up there with the most important goals I’ve scored. I had a shot cleared off the line in the last minute of the game before against West Brom and I was gutted. I went into the Survival Sunday game praying for just one chance. If I had that one chance I was confident I could score.

When Scanns got down the wing, he knew I’d be arriving late so he could cut it back. When he did just that, the only thought in my mind was to connect.

I could have had two that day, of course. Everyone says to me: ‘You must have been fuming in the dressing room – what do you think of Stern John?’ What I think is that Stern was brilliant and we were good friends.

He had a shot in the dying seconds when I was better placed and available, but we never once discussed it. Forwards want goals – it’s why they play as forwards and what he did is what most would have done.

Most importantly, scoring against Sheffield Wednesday that day allowed the club to stay up, get taken over and climb to where it is today. Of all the goals – yes, even that one – that makes me proudest.

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