Alan Pardew thought Crystal Palace’s 5-4 defeat in the Premier League at Swansea City on Saturday was “crazy” while home midfielder Jack Cork agreed it had been a “mad” game.
Yet the sober reality of Palace’s sixth successive league loss against a relegation rival was that both club and manager are now in more danger than ever.
Much play had been made in the build-up of Palace’s record in 2016 being the worst of all England’s 92 league clubs.
This time, despite leading even as the game went into injury time, they still came away with nothing as substitute Fernando Llorente struck twice in the 91st and 93rd minutes to seal their fate. Only goal difference now keeps Palace out of the relegation zone.
“It was an unbelievable game for us. Set-play goals, I think there were four of them, incredible really,” said Pardew.
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“It had a crazy feel to it, the second half. In the end, five bad goals for us and four for them. Very disappointed the way we defended, particularly the last two goals when we got ourselves in front.”
Poor defence has marked Palace’s season and they have now conceded 11 goals in their past three away games. Of the six straight league defeats, Pardew said: “They all hurt.”
Swansea’s defensive record is scarcely better but they were delighted after fashioning their first league win under new manager Bob Bradley.
“It was mad,” said Cork. “It was a mental roller coaster and we are physically drained. It was so important, we needed that win, especially against Palace.
“I don’t remember who scored the goals. It was one of those crazy games you don’t see that often.”
Swansea fought back from 1-0 down to take a 3-1 lead, with a goal from Gylfi Sigurdsson and two from Leroy Fer before James Tomkins, an own goal by Cork, and Christian Benteke put Palace 4-3 in front.
That set up the final turnaround in what turned out to be seven minutes of stoppage time.
Llorente’s double strike was particularly sweet following midweek remarks by his agent that “things aren’t going well” under Bradley, who dropped the striker from the squad for last week’s 1-1 draw at Everton.
The issue, said the American, was fitness as he only brought on Llorente after 60 minutes. Thirty-three minutes and two scrambled goals later, the Spanish international proved a most unlikely hero.