The Premier League newcomers Crystal Palace recorded their first win of the season at the third attempt, seeing off Paolo Di Canio's expensively overhauled Sunderland side on a warm and sunny evening at a jubilant and defiant Selhurst Park. A fortuitous early strike from Danny Gabbidon and late efforts from Dwight Gayle, their record signing, and the substitute Stuart O'Keefe won the points for the home team, while Sunderland had their captain, John O'Shea, dismissed. The only consolation on an otherwise miserable evening for the Mackems was the return from long-term injury of Steven Fletcher and the Scot took just nine minutes to rediscover his scoring touch.
"That was a commanding performance," said Ian Holloway, who celebrated with a comically embarrassing dad-at-a-school-disco dance. "I thought the fans thoroughly deserved it. The atmosphere at the end was just … special."
If the Palace manager's free-spending opposite number is concerned about his error-prone team's meagre haul of one point from three games, he did not show it and denied reports his delayed departure from the post-match dressing room was tantrum-related.
"Today it was difficult to be angry," Di Canio said. "I don't think even the most arrogant player in the world can argue if I point out that the first two goals we conceded were absolutely rubbish. And if my leader comes back in the dressing room and says sorry to everyone, how can you be angry?"
Much more slapstick defending from his occasionally hapless back four and the Italian may find out.