Patjim Kasami scored a goal of mind-boggling genius as Fulham came back from a goal down to thump hapless Crystal Palace
Right then, I'm off. It's been memorable. Thanks for the emails and everything. Bye!
Martin Jol says: "It was unbelievably important to get a result. It was sickening when we lost that header, and we didn't attack the ball, and you think, 'There we go again.' Then after that we showed some resiliance. I think Kasami's goal was probably better than people think. It was a really good goal from a talented boy."
He's asked how the goal compared with Marco van Basten's in 1988. "I think this was better. It could be one of the goals of the season."
"Everything seemed to go for us. The first two goals, out of nothing, was great. We took a few risks before the game and they came off, so that was great. To play Berbatov and Bent and Ruíz, I think good players should play together. We have to work on that and we didn't have the time, but it came off."
Read all about it: Sachin Nakrani's match report is online now, here.
Final thoughts: This is going to be a long, hard, miserable season for Palace. On the plus side, it might allow them to have a good season next year, and possibly even several seasons beyond that, but first they'll have to endure it in its dismal entirety. They more or less knew that before a ball was kicked, but still there must have been some hope there, some hope that Ian Holloway might at least inspire some Blackpoolesque fun. It's looking unlikely. On the plus side, Bolasie played quite well and had a decent claim on the man-of-the-match award.
As for Fulham, I'm really not sure what they learned tonight, except that a) Crystal Palace aren't very good, and b) Kasami is capable of the occasional moment of the most spellbinding genius. For much of the first half they were unimpressive, and few of their players had particularly good games, but still they scored a couple of scrappy goals from corners and a couple of stonking wonderstrikes. Not a bad night, all in all.
Palace's punishment is over. A messy match incongruously decorated with a couple of ludicrous wondergoals.
90+1 mins: There will be this minute of stoppage time, and then two more, and that's it. Probably.
90 mins: Hugo Rodallega gets all of stoppage time to impress, with Berbatov coming off.
88 mins: Palace attack again. This time Moxey's 30-yarder flies straight down the middle of goal, but with so much pace that Stekelenburg can only push it wide. The ball is sent back into the middle, where Bolasie, Palace's silver lining, heads wide.
86 mins: Their team are being humbled at home by Fulham, but Palace's fans mainly seem unhappy with the referee. Puzzling. Fulham break, Berbatov passes left to Kasami, who dons his Pele hat once again and sends in a 25-yarder that Speroni only just keeps away from the top corner.
83 mins: Kasami, who aside from the moment when he looked the best player in all history hasn't looked very good, takes out Ward in the corner, removing a boot and everything.
82 mins: Richardson, who's had an awful last 10 minutes or so, gets booked, and then Palace win a free-kick a couple of yards outside the Fulham penalty area. Thomas pops it into the stand.
80 mins: A save! Bolasie howls forwards until Richardson bowls him over. The fans demand a penalty, but the referee waves play on, Ward crosses, the ball is half-cleared and then O'Keefe shoots low from the edge of the area. It does not go in.
77 mins: Darren Bent will not score tonight. Damien Duff replaces him. Ward steals the ball from Richardson on the edge of the penalty area but his shot flies over.
76 mins: Stekelenburg does something! Thomas swings in a right-footed cross from the left, and the Fulham keeper tips it behind for a corner.
73 mins: Jerome Thomas, who snuck on for Campaña at half-time without me noticing, finds space on the left side of Fulham's penalty area but his low cross is turned behind.
71 mins: There's something about playing a must-win home game against potential relegation rivals, taking an early lead and then being emphatically tonked that must be particularly demoralising. I fear for Palace this season, I really do. They're barely touching the ball now.
69 mins: In 2007-08, on their way to a record-low 11-point final point haul, Derby County had a win, a couple of draws and five points at this stage. Palace, assuming no bonkers comeback tonight, will have three points. Sunderland are still stuck on one.
69 mins: Another substitution for Palace, who bring on Kevin Phillips and take off Gayle.
65 mins: Disallowed goal! Sidwell passes to Richardson, who miscontrols and a Palace player nips in to take the ball. If rolls to Gayle, who turns, shoots, sees the shot saved, gets the rebound, shoots and scores. He was offside, and though Palace think they could have had a free-kick at the edge of the penalty area, they get nowt.
63 mins: About 50 Fulham passes end with Scott Parker trying to play Bent through on goal, but slightly overhitting it.
61 mins: "What Chamakh of that substitution?" asks Ian Copestake. It would have been a good pun, if only his name was pronounced differently. Just as he might have been a good striker, if only he played football differently.
58 mins: Whatever Ian Holloway told his players pre-match that seemed to have got them all fired up, they've forgotten it now. Chins are scraping along floors at Selhurst Park. Fulham, on cloud eight and looking up, are suddenly pinging the ball about joyfully.
57 mins: Palace have brought on Chamakh now, taking off Puncheon.
Another corner from Fulham's right, and this one falls to Senderos, six yards beyond the far post, and his, well, semi-scissor-kick thunders the ball low and hard at goal, and it crosses the line by a foot or so before it's cleared.
54 mins: Cometh the hour (nearly), cometh … er … Marouane Chamakh. Soon.
53 mins: Fulham have had four shots on target – that one save from Bent, and the three goals. Excellent economy of attacking effort from the lads in white.
The corner comes in, and Berbatov wins the header eight yards out and directs it perfectly in at the far post. About time Fulham scored a scratchy, common-or-garden proper British goal.
49 mins: Great save! Speroni blunders a clearance into Bent, and Berbatov collects the ball, carries it forwards and then backheels to Bent, whose shot from the edge of the area is pushed wide.
49 mins: Stekelenburg takes a goal-kick, and it comes down to earth tight on the right touchline. Berbatov's attempt to keep it in play amounts to an audacious attempted backheel crossfield flick. Throw-in.
48 mins: It's being suggested that Hangeland has a genuine (back) injury, though that might just be an excuse. Palace have started on the front foot, and Darren Bent, who has barely touched the ball all night, is now limping.
46 mins: And Fernando Amorebieta has replaced Hangeland, who sustained a horrific pride injury early in the first half.
Half-time: I've now re-seen the Kasami goal perhaps a dozen times. It's just fantastic. Still not the goal of the weekend – Wilshere's still winning for me – but it's phenomenally good. Fulham have been poor tonight, conceding a bad goal, achieving little when they had most of the possession, and then looking uncomfortable when Palace started to take charge. But you can get away with all of that – at least against Palace – when you score goals like that.
45+3 mins: And now we have actually finished it. Nuts.
45+2 mins: We've almost finished our two minutes' allocated stoppage time.
Another stunning goal! Ruíz takes the free-kick, which hits the wall and loops back to Sidwell, standing central, 20 yards out. And he swings his right boot, and volleys it into the top corner. Wowzers.
45 mins: Sidwell nips the ball off Bolasie's toes as he was about to kick it, and gets kicked instead. Free-kick.
42 mins: Possession is now split 45%-55%, which given where it was at earlier indicates that Palace have had the better of the game since the first goal was scored. Which would be accurate.
38 mins: Puncheon loops a disappointing left-wing cross straight out of play. OK, here it is.
36 mins: Anyway, enough about a goal that went in a while ago (though for reference, it's here), though the game has slipped into an awed scrappiness since. Fulham's owner Shahid Khan, incidentally, is now watching from a fire escape.
34 mins: Here's what we know: Kasami scored a scorcher. Jack Wilshere was watching. He was disappointed at the possible implications when goal-of-the-season awards are handed out. A fire alarm went off in the posh seats. My colleague Tom Bryant suggests that the only possible conclusion is that Wilshere's at the game, and popped out for a fag when the goal went in. I've been trying to embed a gif of the goal, but I can't work out how. Sorry.
30 mins: It's not Snoopy Tennis, it's a fire alarm. The executive boxes are being evacuated. The game has not been stopped.
28 mins: The only things spoiling the game for me are the funny beepy noises in the background of Sky's commentary. It's like someone's playing a mid-80s handheld video game next to the microphone. Snoopy Tennis, perhaps.
25 mins: I expected this game to be fun, in a two-not-great-teams-having-a-go way. And to be fair it has started along those lines, but with one moment of the most incredible, genuine awesomeness. "As a long-standing Palace fan I’ve noticed that Palace can only ever play well for half a season," writes Matt Willson. "We either have a blinding 1st half, top of the shop at Xmas & just escape relegation, or don’t win a thing until late December & end up in the playoffs. I expect we’ll get a dodgy draw in the Champions League next year, though."
22 mins: That's the best goal of the season since Saturday. At least.
Holy mackerel! Kasami makes a good run, left to right, from the halfway line, takes a high ball from the right-back slot on his chest, on the run, heading away from goal, and then volleys it with his right foot back across himself, over the keeper and in at the far post. Brilliant goal.
18 mins: According to my probably-a-couple-of-minutes-out-of-date sources, Fulham have had 68.8% of possession so far. And finally they get into Palace's penalty area, though Berbatov, having danced into it, dances right out again, skips back up the pitch for a while and then passes back into his own half.
15 mins: O'Keefe roars down the middle, but his shot from 20-odd yards is skewed off target. That's despite a risible attempt to block from Hangeland, who has started less like a house on fire than a house that burned down two weeks ago.
14 mins: Bolasie roars down the right flank, eventually getting tackled near the byline. Nothing much comes of it, except the increasingly strong impression that Holloway did a decent motivational job before this one.
12 mins: Fulham couldn't look more uncomfortable if they all had drawing pins in their boots and wasps under their vests. Anyway, here's a nice picture. Of an eagle. Andrew Couldridge, you did well.
10 mins: That's 5ft 10in Adrian Mariappa outjumping 6ft 6.5in Brede Hangeland, an 8.5 inch height differential. I say "outjump" though it implies that both men jumped, which wouldn't be entirely accurate.
The corner is headed clear, worked back out wide and then crossed in by Puncheon, a really high loopy one, and Mariappa somehow outjumps Hangeland on the six-yard line and nods in.
6 mins: Campaña's set-piece comes off the wall and flies over the bar.
5 mins: Sidwell gives the ball away on the edge of Palace's penalty area, and 30 seconds later takes away Bolasie's legs on the edge of his own, conceding a dangerous free-kick.
4 mins: Fulham have had pretty much all the possession, except for the little bit with which Palace might have scored. They haven't done anything very impressive with the ball yet. "Hey Simon," writes JR in Illinois. "Do you think Holloway should be fined for fielding an under strength side? Wait. What's that you say? That's his first team? Oh. Never mind then. Sorry, that was mean. I'm actually rooting for Palace to win. Failing that I'm hoping Chamakh doesn't get in and if he does I'm rooting for as few camera shots of him as possible because looking at his hair makes me feel ill."
2 mins: Gayle runs into too much space from the halfway line, is at the edge of the area before Senderos consideres closing him down, and snaps a low shot at goal that Stekelenburg just about gathers.
1 min: This is happening. "It has goals written all over it," agrees John Trolan. "…so 0-0?"
Another bad statistical omen for Palace, who are amassing quite a collection.
The players are coming out of Crystal Palace's surprisingly beige-carpeted tunnel area. Action is imminent here.
Bent. Berbatov. Gayle. A couple of unexceptional defences. A chilly fog of impending crisis hanging threateningly over both clubs. This is going to be wildly entertaining, isn't it? Isn't it?
Here's the Press Association's take on the team sheets:
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway made three changes to his starting XI for the Eagles' Barclays Premier League clash at home to Fulham, with Yannick Bolasie making his first start of the season.
The midfielder made his comeback from injury from the bench in the 3-1 loss at Liverpool, with Dwight Gayle, the Palace goalscorer at Anfield, also recalled along with José Campaña.
Martin Jol was able to name Maarten Stekelenburg in goal and handed a start to on-loan forward Darren Bent, while Kieran Richardson and Scott Parker also played as David Stockdale, Fernando Amorebieta, Damien Duff and Giorgos Karagounis missed out.
Sack race update: Middlesbrough have sacked Tony Mowbray. There's a not-strictly-relevant football headline for you.
Ian Holloway has been chatting to Sky. "We've just got to get back to getting used to winning," he said. "We haven't won since we handed in that dreaded 25-man squad list, when we had four or five lads not in it. It's all about showing your spirit. Because sometimes skill loses out to will, and that's what we're going to be going at Fulham with tonight. We're going to be going for it."
And they look like this:
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Mariappa, Delaney, Moxey, O'Keefe, Jedinak, Puncheon, Campana, Bolasie, Gayle. Subs: Dikgacoi, Phillips, Thomas, Gabbidon, Kebe, Chamakh, Price.
Fulham: Stekelenburg, Riether, Hangeland, Senderos, Richardson, Kasami, Parker, Sidwell, Ruiz, Berbatov, Bent. Subs: Stockdale, Karagounis, Duff, Rodallega, Zverotic, Boateng, Amorebieta.
Referee: Lee Mason.
Palace have won one of their last 10 home matches against Fulham, losing four. They have lost six of their seven league games this season and are yet to keep a clean sheet. Other than that, there’s no reason for them not to feel optimistic. Ian Holloway says they must win tonight – "must", mind, not "are really very desperate to" or "could do with a". Must.
“Life in this league is tough and it holds no prisoners and can leave you blown away at times if you are not ready for it,” says Cameron Jerome, the Palace forward. “We have to believe that we belong here and having the confidence and the arrogance to express ourselves on the football pitch in the right way, work hard for the team and do what has to be done.” And what has to be done, as is becoming increasingly clear, is lose with astonishing regularity, blame the inherent unfairness of modern English football and then disappear back to the Championship massively enriched in both infrastructure and bank balance, hoping for better luck next time. Which, for the record, I think is a perfectly reasonable approach.
Although Fulham, with seven points from their seven games so far, one win in six and just five goals scored (the same as Palace and Sunderland, more only than Stoke) are hardly excelling this season – so much so that of all top-flight bosses only comedy Cardiff’s Malky Mackay is currently considered more likely to lose his job than uncle Martin Jol – most people would consider Palace to be the underdogs here. Me, I can’t seem to help myself seeing this match in my mind’s eye as one between an actual palace and a genuine cottage, for which clearly the cottage would have to get the neutral’s support. Palace are obviously at the top of the football/building crossover tree, while the Cottagers would have to come up against the Campsites or the Troglodyte Caves or something to feel similarly superior. Just as whatever their form or league position Reading’s Royals would always have the football/career upper hand against the Cobblers of Northampton, or the Owls of Sheffield Wednesday would have football/bird supremacy when they play the Robins of Swindon. That's where I stand.
Simon will be here from 7.30pm with all the team news ahead of the game. Before that, here's what Ian Holloway has been saying in the build-up.
Ian Holloway has challenged his Crystal Palace players to end the season above the Premier League relegation zone but has dismissed any suggestion that opponents Fulham will also be a part of the battle for survival.
The Eagles will start the game in 19th place, with the visiting side two places above them after both have suffered faltering starts. But while Holloway would happily settle for a 17th-placed finish at the end of the season, he does not envisage Fulham fighting at the foot of the table for much longer.
When asked if Martin Jol's side were part of the bottom-four battle Holloway said: "That would be a bit of a disgrace to Fulham. For they have had a mixed bag of results recently and then people were 'taking with' a new owner and speculation grows.