Campbell salvages point for Palace after diving controversy
Fraizer Campbell returned to cause more misery for his former club Hull City, where he is an unpopular figure among fans, as he headed in a late equaliser to salvage a point for his under-pressure manager Alan Pardew in an entertaining contest that had seemed set to be overshadowed by an appalling dive from the home side’s Robert Snodgrass.
Campbell had been jeered by home supporters as he warmed up on the touchline, but Pardew threw him on for the final 10 minutes and the Crystal Palace striker responded by meeting Wilfried Zaha’s cross and nodding in. Campbell had also scored against Hull for Cardiff City and celebrated mockingly on the final day of the season in 2012-13 when the Yorkshire club were searching for – and ultimately secured – automatic promotion to the Premier League.
Before that moment, Pardew had looked like he would be crashing to another damaging defeat after another away goal feast. This time, though, his team summoned the necessary character to repair the damage – unlike the outcome of the past two matches on the road, when they were beaten 5-4 at Swansea City and 3-2 at Burnley.
When he was Newcastle manager in March 2014, Pardew had infamously butted Hull midfielder David Meyler at this venue and the Palace manager would have been excused for feeling similar rage at times during this match.
There was the sight of Snodgrass – who had already been booked – producing an awful dive to win a penalty and score from it, meaning that the home side took a 1-0 lead rather than going down to 10 men and the score staying 0-0. It was a controversial moment that should earn the Hull player plenty of flak, with Pardew saying the Scot should be “embarrassed”.
“Fabrication would be the word I’d use, with my diplomatic head,” Pardew said “We all want it out of the game. It’s very difficult, at match speed, to call that right but Snodgrass needs to have a look at himself. When he sees it, he will be embarrassed.”
Snodgrass celebrated his goal with gusto but later seemed rather more contrite as he apologised on Twitter, saying: “Apologies from my end it was never a penalty, but genuinely thought defender was going to slide, so tried to ride the tackle.”
While Pardew’s frustration with Snodgrass was understandable it was the Palace players who should also have been the subject of the manager’s ire as they undid their hard work of recovering and taking a 2-1 lead – and sloppily fell 3-2 behind. Campbell’s intervention was consequently a huge relief and the contribution of Zaha was crucial – with the winger having already won a penalty and scored a highly impressive solo goal before that late assist.
When asked if Campbell’s history was a factor in bringing the player on, Pardew said: “A little bit. I said to my staff before the game, ‘I fancy him to score’. One or two people at Hull ques- tioned his mentality. He must have adjusted that because he has been a model pro at Palace.”
The Palace manager said his team should have seen the game out at 2-1. “Wilf [Zaha] should have been on the winning team today,” he said. “At the end, we needed Fraizer to get a point and it was an important point.”
Pardew was going into the game after a win against Southampton, which ended a run of six defeats in a row, but he had not lessened the pressure on himself by saying that this match at Hull “could define the first half of our season”. After criticism over negative tactics recently, Hull manager Mike Phelan changed the formation to a 3-5-1-1, offering more width and attacking threat. Supporters had been vociferously seeking that change and it was vindicated by a much-improved display, despite the ultimate disappointment of dropping two points.
Phelan said: “I thought that we were going to see it through. It would have been massive. With the disappointGuardiola ment, there comes a lot of ‘well dones’.”
Palace started the better side but Hull squandered an early chance as Adama Diomande found himself one on one against goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey and shot straight at him.
The penalty then gave the home side their breakthrough, with Snodgrass tumbling in the box despite there appearing to be no contact from Scott Dann, although Phelan refused to criticise his midfielder.
“I’m not going to pull my own player up for something the referee gave,” he said. “We take what we’re given at this level. I’m sure Alan is aggrieved, as I would be.”
The Palace boss responded to his side’s first-half deficit by changing his system to match Hull and his team quickly levelled, when Snodgrass gave away a penalty, which Christian Benteke scored, rolling the ball in.
Hull remained positive but Palace were looking well capable of scoring when they broke and did so, in style, through Zaha. The winger twisted beyond Tom Huddlestone and Sam Clucas then fired a shot, from a testing angle, into the roof of the net.
Phelan’s men rapidly equalised as Harry Maguire supplied Diomande, who turned beyond Dann and finished. The positivity did not stop after that either and Hull were soon rewarded with their third goal as Jake Livermore took Snodgrass’s pass and made a piercing run into the 18-yard box, then arrowed a low strike inside the near post.
They looked on course for a win at that stage but Campbell wrecked their afternoon by capitalising on poor defending.
Fall guy: Robert Snodgrass goes to ground to win Hull a hotly-disputed penalty