Pardew: We Were Terrific

Last updated : 16 March 2003 By Rob Cooper
Alan Pardew
Alan Pardew
A second is a long time in football. Had it not been for James Harper's dramatic last-gasp strike Reading fans and Alan Pardew alike would right now be bemoaning another poor performance and two more points dropped.

There might even, shock horror, be talk of the Royals struggling to cement a Play-Off place.

However, a ninety-third minute winner later, everything is going along swimmingly once more and 'Promotion' becomes, not for the first time, the word on everyone's lips.

Alan Pardew was a little more cautious in his approach, not mentioning the cursed 'P' word or even the 'Play-Off Final' phrase which for so many fans bring back memories of what might have been.

Here and now, Pardew was delighted with what he considered to be a terrific display. With the likes of Forest, Wolves and Sheffield Utd surprisingly slipping up the Royals find themselves elevated back to third place.

"That's a good team we had to play, and we made some great chances," commented Pardew.

"Their set-up made it very difficult for us. We took some time to adjust, but in the second half I thought we were terrific. We stuck at it and made chance after chance."

Palace forward Andy Johnson slid a seventy-sixth minute leveler past Marcus Hahnemann and for a while at least it looked as if the Eagles might escape with a point.

Pardew was disappointed with his young side's defending leading up to the goal. Indeed, on another day the momentary slip could have cost them the game.

Pards added: "We were disappointed to concede a sloppy sort of goal. We've conceded two goals this week from similar scenarios, quick free kicks. I'm afraid that's a bit of naivety we have in the team."

Following the equaliser there was a late cavalry charge from the Royals and for a while it looked as if the winner would never come. John Salako spurned a great chance, and Andy Hughes had a goal disallowed for a seemingly non-existent handball.

"I thought Hughsey's disallowed goal should have stood," said the bemused Royals boss. "The late winner was justified even though it came so late. Harps was excellent in the last twenty minutes and he deserved his goal."

Having played for Palace, and having scored an FA Cup Semi-Final winning goal for them twelve years ago, Pardew certainly enjoyed getting one over his old club, made all the more sweeter with the late goal.

Some crazy celebrations took place in the dug out when Harper's goal hit the back of the net. "I got a bit excited, but scoring in the last minute against my old club you might forgive me! I did enjoy it."

The corks must now firmly be planted back in the champagne bottles ahead of Tuesday's game against Ipswich Town at Portman Road. It's not time to say the 'P' word yet.