All of the Time - Chimes of Wilfriedom

Welcome back: Wilfried Zaha was on target in the most dramatic of fashions at Newcastle United

Welcome back: Wilfried Zaha was on target in the most dramatic of fashions at Newcastle United

First published in Sport Streatham Guardian: Photograph of the Author by

There is something special about an injury time equaliser that puts it above almost any other goal-scoring circumstances.

Considering the way Newcastle’s Papiss Cisse crushed the Eagles with a 93rd minute winner at St. James’ Park in March, this weekend’s last gasp point felt even more glorious.

A 3-3 draw seems a bizarre result to celebrate. After all, we held the lead twice. We even kept the tie at 2-1 in our favour for 25 minutes.

Yet, the final goal followed a heart-wrenching, sickening six minutes. Rolando Aarons delivered a gorgeous, curling cross/shot that thumped back off the bar.

The ball fell gently into the path of Mike Williamson to tuck away for an 88th minute tap in.

It was a head-in-hands moment for Palace fans.

We were about to leave the north east with nothing, once again… Enter Wilfried Zaha.

Our returning hero had looked electrifying during his substitute appearance, he had had a goal disallowed for a paper thin offside and he sliced another opportunity wide.

His trickery, close control, passing and pace on the flanks were striking terror into the hearts of the Newcastle defence, but his decisive moment arrived in less typical fashion.

Somehow, in the depths of added time, he produced tricky footwork that was unlike his usual step-overs.

As Damien Delaney’s excellent set piece knock down came across him, he unconventionally readjusted his body to drive home clinically.

Streatham Guardian:

Played his part: Damien Delaney set up the last-gasp leveller in Geordie-land

The emotion and the passion of that moment were unbearable. The hairs stand up on my next as I type this.

Nevertheless, without meaning to be all doom and gloom about a moment that had me running around like a madman, it’s vital that we don’t get carried away.

Zaha’s signing is brilliant; it’s incredible to watch him play for Palace again already. But it’s essentially been a genius PR smokescreen.

Not only to reduce the fuss about Neil Warnock, but to distract from the fact we need new signings elsewhere quite badly and our defence looks like an utter shambles.

The leadership and organisation seems to have vanished. The ball will bounce several times on the edge of the 18-yard box before a player has decided which of them will thump it away.

It does not help that the back four is constantly uncertain. Our full backs have been different in most of the games, while the centre back pairing seems in flux as well.

Signing James McArthur and a left back would be perfect. Joel Ward can return to his natural position at right back.

We can cut down on the improvisation and let Ward get back to doing precisely what he does best.

Sort out a left back and buy a midfielder. That’s it. Then I’ll be able to relax and properly enjoy watching Wilf back in red and blue.

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