That was also a Monday night game against opponents who had been in pretty shocking form and it ended badly for both the team who lost 4-1 and Holloway, who departed soon afterwards, dazed and confused.
The familiar feeling of watching a team losing its way and floundering was as painful as it was frustrating. The team that Pulis had built was crumbling before our very eyes – defensive solidity has been replaced by hesitancy and uncertainty; the midfield cohesion has been eroded to such an extent that it looks as though they have never played together; the pacy counter-attacking style has dried up and looks toothless. The only genuine threat we posed to Pantimilion was when Wes Brown was near the ball and he proved it by having more shots on target than any of our strikers.
A fear is that like Holloway, Warnock is better suited to the arena of the post-match conferences rather than in organising the team or imposing a strong tactical base from which to build a team that can compete at the highest level. Both are highly quotable and are journalists’ dream but neither seems to be able to cut the mustard at the very top, where the idea of simply putting on more forwards when you’re losing is naïve and usually pointless.
It is a pity that Warnock’s perpetual whinging at referees has somewhat masked the atrocious decision by Phil Dowd to ignore Vergini hacking down Campbell in the first minute. I am not sure I have ever seen a more clear-cut penalty not given and the idea that Dowd did not see it is both laughable and deeply worrying.
Even Poyet admitted it was a touch of luck and it would be so refreshing to one day hear a referee admit he made a mistake but PGMOL, the match officials body, will never allow such honesty.
One decision Dowd did get right was sending off Jedinak for a Smalling-esque meltdown after hurling one of their players a good ten yards, before upending another soon after and being dismissed. It was not a particularly inspirational thing for our skipper to do and as they might say in his country, he exhibited the brains of a rocking horse.
So with a squad lacking in confidence, shorn of our captain, betrayed by poor reffing and led by a manager who does not seem cut out for the job we head off to Old Trafford and I fear a proper pummelling, as even the misfiring Manchester United have enough latent talent to hand out a hiding.
It may be considered a good time to face Van Gaal’s ragged troops, I think they will be thirsting to take out their frustrations on somebody and that just happens to be Palace.