The newly-appointed Crystal Palace club captain formed part of an impressively drilled unit at Bramall Lane as the Eagles dominated proceedings against Sheffield United – and maybe even ought to have won by more than just Odsonne Edouard’s second-half strike.
As it was, however, the nature of the 1-0 win left Ward and his teammates plenty pleased.
The captain told Palace TV “I think it was a very controlled, positive performance.
“On another day it could have been four or five, but I think the lads dealt with their threats really well, created some chances and there was a good balance to the team. As a whole, it was a great start to what is an important season for us.
“When you come to these sorts of grounds, with the history that they have, you’re always going to come up against it. The fans, much like ours, are going to act as the twelfth man.
“I know that’s a little bit cliché, but the atmosphere does play a part, and that’s why we’re so thankful for the fans that travel and the fans at home when they get the place rocking – it makes it an intimidating place to come.”