Richard Foster: My Favourite Goal
Like most clubs Palace approached their match against Man City at The Etihad with a heady mixture of apprehension, trepidation and sheer, unadulterated terror. Such caution was fully justified given the previous four visits had yielded four comprehensive defeats and a tally of one solitary goal scored against seventeen conceded.
The omens were not good and there was a sense of inevitability when City took the lead midway through the first half. To everybody’s surprise Jeffery Schlupp squeezed an equaliser into the far corner but that was nothing to what happened just a few minutes later.
The ball was cleared unconvincingly by a Bernardo Silva header and was dropping towards Andros Townsend 30 yards from goal. Townsend steadied himself before unleashing a sumptuous volley that seared unerringly into the top corner. It was one of those rare strikes, which is followed by a moment of suspended disbelief as everyone tries to work out exactly what has happened. Townsend ran away in understandable delirium.
On BBC5 Live Ian Dennis declared it to be the goal of the season and it is difficult to envisage anything that might get close in the remaining five months. To add to the incredulity, Palace went on to grab a third and Kevin De Bruyne’s late goal was a mere consolation. So not only was this goal one of such unbelievable quality but it was also instrumental in inspiring one of Palace’s greatest successes of recent years.
Townsend has a song based on David Bowie’s Starman dedicated to him by Eagles’ fans and he proved it with that wonderful shot.
Foster is a regular features writer for The Guardian and has written several books: @rcfoster