HEROICS IN VAIN
On-song stopper beaten at last from penalty spot
lous saves and he deserves all the credit because he’s just a fantastic human being.
“He’s always got a smile on his face. He’s really good with the younger players. Everything about him as a person is top drawer and it is characters like him who will move this club forward.”
As Al-Habsi will attest, Palace certainly dominated in terms of clear chances. In addition to the keeper’s heroics, Joe Ledley twice went close, first expertly blocked by Cooper and then scooping over the top. Bolasie hit the bar, Jedinak had another header cleared.
Yet Reading, organised and dogged, dangerous on the counter through Hal Robson-Kanu, had chances of their own. The best both fell to winger Ola John, who latched onto a Wayne Hennessey flap before lamping a shot into the sidenetting, then headed low to force a fine save from the Eagles keeper.
Sadly, his profligacy would prove costly when Bolasie tumbled chasing a ball over the top that, in all likelihood, would have reached Al-Habsi without any intervention from Cooper. Reading did rally but when Bolasie and Adebayor linked to play in Campbell, the former Manchester United striker bundled home. Mind you, Al-Habsi nearly stopped that one too.
“You know that Brian will set up a team to be on the front foot,” said Palace boss Alan Pardew, the former Royals manager who brought McDermott to the club as a scout in 2000.
“His side work hard, they put crosses in. They did all of that and they had a great chance through Ola John’s header at 0-0. If that goes in, it might have been a very different night. Those are the margins at this level but we were good. I’m very pleased for the lads and the fans.”
CRYSTAL CLEAR: Yohan Cabaye fires in his penalty for Palace
STAR MAN ALI AL- HABSI Readin