Woosie's Words: Don't forget the unsung heroes, don't forget Cameron Jerome
From my days playing football for my school, about 10 years ago now, there are a few matches that stand out vividly in my memory.
One of those was played on a pitch that contained roughly two blades of grass, on a freezing cold day in the winter and many days of heavy rain.
Naturally, I won the man of the match award, despite seemingly not doing as much as my peers and being the only player on the pitch not to score a goal.
Last Sunday evening, I was trawling through the Palace forums to find that Cameron Jerome had earned only eight votes for man of the match, and wondered to myself quite how so few people appreciated his efforts during the match.
The Welsh weather was horrendous prior to the match, as heavy rain and hailstones brought fear into my mind that I’d have made the trip to Swansea only to find the game called off in a repeat of the Everton match only a few weeks ago.
Fortunately the Liberty stadium pitch was a little more prepared than those on which I played at school and the game went ahead.
Marouane Chamakh pulled up with a hamstring injury midway through the first half and much to my dismay I saw Cameron Jerome being readied to replace him.
Indeed, Jerome entered the fray and was immediately greeted with the sort of response that leaves you remembering how vicious rivalries can be, as the former Cardiff man was derided throughout the game.
Slowly but surely, Palace seemed to improve from their abysmal, and abysmal is putting it lightly, performance.
Jerome was a key cog in the Eagles’ machine as slowly it trundled into gear and began pumping out steam like the traction engine of Darren Ambrose’s foot during the League Cup quarter final in 2011.
Glenn Murray was introduced at half time and Tony Pulis had turned it around. The Palace boss admitted he got it wrong in the first half, but to his credit, he got it very right in the second.
Jerome and Murray linked up well, but it was the former who, for me, was the more accomplished player on the day.
CamJam, as I refer to him (blame FYP’s Jim Daly), pulled defenders all over the place with his movement and created space for Yannick Bolasie to run down the wing and terrorise the talented Ben Davies.
Given space: Cameron Jerome's hard work is a huge boost to the likes of Yannick Bolasie
Not only that, but he won a number of headers and flick ons to bring Murray and/or Bolasie into play.
Calvin Andrew mark II?
Not a chance, Jerome has more ability and talent than Andrew, and his workrate is infinitely superior.
But he just is not a goalscorer and that’s what Palace need right now; so it was understandable that Murray – a crowd favourite – was voted as the Eagles’ top man on the day, especially given he scored a well-deserved first Premier League goal.
Nonetheless, without Jerome up front holding the ball up and bringing others into play so well, just as Chamakh does, the game could easily have slipped through Palace’s fingers and disappeared.
The on-loan Stoke striker may not be a world beater, but his performances have been sufficient to change my mind about his ability, just as I admit how very wrong I got it with Murray when he first joined.
Sometimes, it’s about appreciating the less obvious aspects of a player’s game, and Jerome is better than most give him credit for.
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