I fcukin luv ya Leicester

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foxybru

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Chuffed with the Ingerland/Rooney Spirit, I'm back into footy again...

Yahayy !

So, just found these and I need to share the feeling cos I'm wellin' up...

Match Report
Crystal Palace v Leicester City
Wembley 27th May 1996
Crystal Palace 1 (1) Leicester City 2 (0)
Roberts 13' Parker 76'(pen)
Claridge 120'
After Extra Time


Team : Martyn, Edworthy, Brown, Quinn, Roberts, Tuttle, Hopkin, Pitcher, Houghton, Freedman, Ndah

Subs : Rodger (on for Tuttle), Dyer (on for Freedman), Veart (on for Hopkin)

Attendance : 73,573 . . . . Referee : Mr. D. Allison (Lancaster)

Match Reports From : Russell Kempson of The Times / John Ley of The Daily Telegraph

Ray Bateup's Report

When you consider in depth, what Dave Bassett has achieved since his arrival, Palace's progress this season has taken on almost Fairy Tale proportions.

However, the person who composed this one forgot that all Fairy Tales have a happy ending. But I have a hunch the author of this Fairy Tale felt more at home with horror stories.

Both teams had a nervy first few minutes but it was Palace who made the dream start 14 minutes into the match when Andy Roberts standing in the "D" on the edge of the Leicester penalty area received a Houghton pass, and side-stepped his marker before drilling a low shot into the corner of the net.

Palace were looking composed for most of the first half and further chances fell to Dougie Freedman who just failed to connect to a perfect George Ndah cross and David Hopkin who shot tamely at the Fox's keeper.

Nigel Martyn was called into action several times to outsmart the Leicester attack but Palace maintained their slender lead until half-time.

You have heard this before, but I'll say it again - the opposition, with nothing to lose, came out fighting in the second half and Palace found themselves having to defend in numbers to keep Leicester at bay.

In the 49th minute Ndah's fierce drive forced the first real save out of the Leicester custodian and within one minute Freedman's bicycle kick struck the keeper.

From then on Palace really came under the cosh as Leicester piled forward in search of the equaliser.

Had it not been for the Fox's poor finishing and the superb form of Nigel Martyn, Palace would have lost this tie well before the 90 minute whistle.

The Eagles had yet another opportunity to increase their lead in the 69th minute when Dougie Freedman, possibly giving his worst performance in a Palace shirt, hung on to the ball too long when a pass to the unmarked Houghton would have been far more beneficial.

By now the writing was beginning to appear on the Eagle's wall and the equaliser which we all dreaded came courtesy of a very poor challenge by Edworthy on a Leicester forward and the referee quite rightly pointed to the spot.

Despite a brave attempt by Nigel Martyn, Parker drilled his penalty shot just out of reach of the Palace keeper's right hand.

Leicester were now well on top and two goal-line clearances by Andy Roberts and again by Carl Veart prevented Leicester from taking the spoils and thus Palace survived to take the contest into extra time.

Once again the superb form of Nigel Martyn, pulling off save after save, coupled with his fine positional play, stood between Leicester and victory. However, the Fox's poor finishing didn't help their cause either.

Palace survived another penalty decision in the 9th minute of extra time and the game was seemingly heading for a penalty shoot out.

But, little did we know - the Bassett Fairy Story had a bitter sting in the tale.

Leicester brought on their reserve Keeper ready to do battle between the posts.

But before the new keeper had time to occupy his position between the sticks and with the Wembley scoreboard already showing time-up, ex Palace man Steve Claridge, with almost the last kick of the game, shinned his effort from the edge of the area and the Palace defence, regretably including Martyn, just stood and watched as the ball flew into the net.

Disappointment

The players acknowledge
the fans.
The Leicester fans could not believe their luck and went completely wild. The final whistle, seconds later, left the Eagles' fans sitting in utter disbelief at the cruelty of it all.

But to be fair, Leicester did deserve their victory.

You may remember earlier in the season I suggested that Palace would be better having a season of consolidation in the First Division and that's exactly what we have ended up with.

But let me tell you, today's defeat hurts and it hurts real bad.

Ray Bateup

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Report by Russell Kempson of The Times

Crystal Palace's late surge towards promotion was terminated 11seconds from the end of extra time, by a goal from Steve Claridge, the Leicester City forward, in the Endsleigh Insurance League first-division play-off final at Wembley yesterday. That his shot was mis-hit only aggravated the devastation felt by the south London side.

Cruel is too kind an adjective adequately to convey the emotions inflicted on the Palace players. At least there was no individual anguish, just collective grief at not rebounding back to the FA Carling Premiership at the first attempt. That honour was grasped by Leicester, probably deservedly, after a final of mounting tension and, ultimately, a dramatic finale.

It was their second victory from four play-off finals in five years and, for Martin O'Neill, the manager, his fourth success in four visits to the national stadium, with Wycombe Wanderers and now Leicester.

"I was dreading it going to penalties," O'Neill said. "This has to be one of the best moments of my life." For Dave Bassett, the Palace manager of only three months, it was tough to take. "I had a feeling, a horrible feeling, that fate would play its hand," he said.

Parker orchestrated much of Leicester's work, frequently first to the loose ball and able to calm the frenzy whenever needed. Houghton did the same for Palace, strolling regally and regularly servicing the diagonal runs of Freedman and Ndah.

For all Leicester's early spark, it was Palace who claimed the lead in the fourteenth minute. Roberts, the central defender, gathered possession on the edge of the area and drove a low, bobbling shot past Poole.

Ndah's pace continued to trouble Leicester while Izzet, had he been able to cross the ball consistently or correctly, might have provided similar problems for Palace. The game simmered encouragingly.

In the second half, it reached the boil ­ a cup-tie for the connoisseur.

Palace could have stretched their lead, when Poole first saved Ndah's drive then, in almost his next breath, athletically stopped Freedman's volley.

It was a temporary blip, with Leicester gradually forcing Palace back.Taylor kept cutting in from the right, to no avail; Heskey, Walsh and Parker also tried in vain.

In the 76th minute, they were rewarded. Walsh threaded a pass through to Izzet, whose run was clumsily ended by Edworthy. Although Martyn got a hand to Parker's penalty, it carried enough momentum to cross the line.

Had Veart not nodded Walsh's towering header off the line, in the 87th minute, the sight of labouring, faltering bodies, in extra time, would not have been witnessed. An air of inevitably, of a shoot-out, inexorably pervaded the proceedings, with O'Neill bringing on Kalac, the 6ft 7in goalkeeper, in preparation.

He was not needed. Before he even touched the ball, Claridge latched on to Watts's nod the ball down before driving past Martyn. "I think it hit my shin," Claridge said. Who cares? The Premiership awaits.

Russell Kempson

Ray Bateup's Report

Report from John Ley of the The Daily Telegraph

Leicester City will join Sunderland and Derby in the Premiership next season after one of the most exciting finishes to a Wembley final in 30 years. In the last game to be staged there before Euro '96, a goal two seconds from the end of extra time - and a penalty shoot-out - by Steve Claridge took Leicester back after a year's sojourn in Division One.

Claridge, a £1 million signing, repaid that fee immediately with a right-foot effort which spun off his leg from George Ndah's failed clearance.

Claridge is a complex character. He is a heavy gambler, suffers from a heart condition and claimed earlier in the season that he thought he had contracted multiple sclerosis.

It transpired that the tablets Claridge takes for his heart had set off a side reaction with all the symptoms of the crippling disease. Claridge's fears were dispelled and yesterday he was allowed to wallow in glory.

"I think I might have shinned the ball in," admitted Claridge. "But we were by far the better side and deserved the win. It'll be my first time in the Premiership after 14 years and that's something I didn't expect when I was playing for Aldershot."

Referee David Allison, outstanding in his handling of an exciting game, said: "As the ball hit the back of the net I looked at my watch and there were two seconds left."

Palace had led from the 14th minute, when Andy Roberts chose the perfect time to score his first goal for the club.

Resolute defending suggested Palace would hand Dave Bassett a record seventh promotion, but a 76th-minute penalty from Garry Parker brought Leicester back.

In the final minute Leicester manager Martin O'Neill gambled his trump card - bringing on 6ft 7in Australian goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac to face the anticipated penalty shoot-out. His 30 seconds must have been the shortest Wembley appearance.

Leicester, who finished four points behind Palace, in fifth place, fell behind when Roberts fed Ray Houghton, received the return and struck a perfect drive into the bottom corner.

With Nigel Martyn outstanding in Palace's goal and their five-man defence solid, there seemed little way through for Leicester. But the game turned on two brilliant saves - from Ndah and Dougie Freedman - by Leicester's Kevin Poole.

Leicester's fans sensed the chance to get back at Palace and turned up the volume. It reached fever pitch when Marc Edworthy tried for the ball, took the legs of Chelsea loanee Muzzy Izzett, and Parker converted the penalty.

Parker was dropped, stripped of the captaincy and made available for transfer by O'Neill after a dressing-room incident involving a tea cup. He returned to score the goal, against Stoke, which took Leicester to Wembley.

Martyn continued to save Palace in extra time and then O'Neill, fearing penalties, introduced 'Spider' Kalac. His involvement was not needed when, in the 120th minute, Claridge volleyed Leicester into the Premiership.

O'Neill, who joined Leicester in December and managed only one win in 13 games prompting a pitch invasion and demonstrations against the club's hierarchy, said: "That was only a couple of months ago but the players have turned things round brilliantly."

Bassett, whose arrival in February coincided with a rise from 16th to third, said: "It's a cruel game but that's the way it is. We deserved to go to penalties but we can play better."
 
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Premier League

P Pld Pts
Arsenal  3
Leicester  3
Chelsea  3
Newcastle Utd  3
Wolves  3
Liverpool  3
Palace  3
Everton  3
Aston Villa  0
10 Burnley  0
11 Manchester City  0
12 Manchester Utd  0
13 Leeds Utd  0
14 Southampton  0
15 Tottenham   0
16 Brighton  0
17 Sheffield Utd  0
18 West Ham Utd  0
19 Fulham  0
20 West Brom  0
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