Arthur Wait as good as Holmesdale against Brighton

Brighton fans in the Arthur Wait stand

Brighton fans in the Arthur Wait stand

First published in Sport

EAGLES blogger SAM ROSS is still on a high after Saturday’s demolition of old foe Brighton.

SATURDAY’S 3-0 win over rivals Brighton was a great day to be a Palace fan but it was even better to be watching on from a packed and rocking Arthur Wait Stand.

The Arthur Wait has suffered in terms of numbers ever since the frustrating decision was made to move the away supporters to the other end of the stand and nearer the Whitehorse Lane end.

But Saturday proved just how good a stand it is when fully packed, with an atmosphere which surpassed that in the Holmesdale. The game itself was a great derby affair which saw Yannick Bolasie and Glenn Murray dominate.

But £32, or £26 for category B games, is a lot of money to be paying every week and perhaps explains why the stand has been half empty for the majority of the season.

Murray’s first goal just before half-time was crucial after Brighton’s incredibly negative approach to the game following Lewis Dunk’s sending off early on for a last-man lunge on Bolasie.

The Seagulls, seemingly already content with a point before kick-off, tried to turn the game into a bore draw by having every player behind the ball for the 30 minutes following Dunk’s dismissal.

Thankfully Murray’s superb glancing header meant Brighton had to take the game to Palace in the second half, which they did, and they should have levelled through Craig Mackail-Smith.

The turning point was the first penalty which was harsh on Brighton keeper Tomasz Kuszczak.

Murray was definitely playing for it and not following the path of the ball after knocking it past the Polish stopper. The second though was one of the most blatant penalties I have ever seen but Murray’s decision not to take it was bizarre.

Some deluded Brighton fans are saying it’s because he still has a soft spot for the club.

It was probably more to do with the fact he missed his second penalty against Ipswich while also on a hat-trick, but three goals on Saturday would have made him the league’s current top scorer.

Murray’s brace left Brighton fans ruing his decision to leave them once again but the stand out performer on Saturday was Bolasie.

The winger has been impressing the regulars at Selhurst with his performances since arriving from what he himself described as a ‘nightmare’ at Bristol City.

And with all the spotlight on Wilfried Zaha, the 23-year-old has himself run rings around defenders on the other flank.

Saturday’s win has also set the Eagles on their way for what is a difficult month of fixtures throughout December.

Palace host Ian Holloway’s former employees Blackpool this weekend in a game new Tangerines boss Michael Appleton won’t have to do a great deal to get his side up for.

With Birmingham away and Huddersfield at home before Christmas, the end of the year is a tough run in with back-to-back away fixtures at Cardiff followed by a trip to fellow promotion-chasers Nottingham Forest three days later.

Staying in the top two going into 2013 is a tough ask but Palace are certainly the team to fear right now and rightly so.

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