I thought this was a very decent game and while the result was ultimately disappointing there were some really strong signs of encouragement in the way we played at times.
Okay, we could possibly talk about our game not being pacey enough, but it was the same for Palace too, at least in the first half and let’s not forget it was roasting hot this afternoon.
That said, we looked a bit more comfortable with a slightly slower pace and I think we were holding our own, although Palace probably shaded it chances-wise.
We didn’t have many chances in the first half, but three do come to mind.
First was Gabby’s. He did his usual good work in outpacing the defender, leaving him a one-on-one with the goalie, only for him to hit it unconvincingly and too easily for the goalie.
Sanchez was next, with some good work before a shot that went well over.
Which is all fair enough, as he’s not a supposed goalscorer. It was just nice to see him have a crack.
And then Grealish played a nice ball on to Gabby, who, slightly wide of goal, caught it with the wrong foot and just made a complete Horlicks of it again.
Those two chances should have been two goals for any decent striker on form, it’s as simple as that for me, but it wasn’t to be and we went in 0-0 at half time, with Palace probably having edged things overall.
The second half was a different matter though and Alan Pardew had obviously given his players a rocket. Two were subbed.
His team duly upped their game and it showed as our lads began to look much less comfortable with the increased pace and pressure, which resulted in the ball ending in our net at around the hour mark.
Ultimately, while the ref originally allowed it, he had a prolonged conversation with the linesman and it ended up being disallowed for offside.
A very good decision on this occasion.
It was only a brief respite for us though, as Palace were firmly in control.
I think many of us were probably calling for Sherwood to change something and he duly did, with Traore coming on and Sanchez coming off, who had looked very competent.
As I’d suggested in the preview, I had a feeling Sherwood was winding us all up when he said Traore was miles away.
Where many of us might have had a problem with that substitution (indeed it seems some were asking for Gabby to come off), in retrospect, I can see exactly why Sherwood chose that option.
Whether we like it or not, someone at the Villa loves Gabby.
And the thinking was probably that if you going to keep playing him, it doesn’t make sense to knock his confidence.
He was, after all, getting in the right positions to make the runs wasn’t he?
I don’t think I’ll convince many of you with that argument, but it’s the only one I’ve got.
His finishing is simply awful.
Anyway, within a few minutes of Sanchez coming off, we conceded.
The ball came in from a corner and Scott Dan met it strongly to head in a decent goal.
Clark’s challenge was noticeable by it’s abscence and had me fuming. But it happens.
But then, Traore had what might have been his first touch out on the right wing and went on a blistering run that took out a couple of defenders. His cross deflected off another defender and the ball was in the net for the equaliser.
What was striking was the turn of pace. Defenders just aren’t going to be able to live with it.
The kid had another similar type run that resulted in a very decent cross.
Lip-lickingly good stuff and very likely to put bums on seats, if he doesn’t get hacked (as he was a couple of times) and does his ankles or whatever.
One each then and we were looking on target for the point.
Only for Amavi, who had had a very good game up until then, to give the ball away at the back and the defence, who, for once hadn’t worried me, went to pieces, for Sako to shoot and score.
I’m not exactly sure what happened and in fairness, it was a good shot, but I just had the feeling we were poor in our positioning and decision-making.
So 1-2 and then the game looked beyond us, with not enough minutes remaining.
I didn’t expect much from this one, so I’m not overly upset.
We played some very nice football at times, which is a great change from some of the rubbish we’ve played in recent years, although the way Palace play helped us, I think.
More importantly, I find it difficult to call anyone out for having played poorly today, although Gabby is the most likely candidate.
His finishing is just rubbish and you have to wonder how long Sherwood will put up with it.
I suspect we’re still looking for another striker, put it that way.