Norwich City visit Selhurst Park this weekend for Saturday’s Premier League fixture against Crystal Palace (3pm KO). 14 years ago, this fixture threw up a dramatic clash between two sides desperate to avoid relegation from the Premier League.
City last picked up a point at Crystal Palace in a 1-1 Premier League draw on New Year’s Day in 2014, but it’s the tense 3-3 thriller from 2005 that lives long in the memory.
Crystal Palace 3-3 Norwich City
16 April, 2005
What was on the line?
Despite finishing the previous season in sixth place, Crystal Palace went into this game in 19th, fresh off the back of a 4-0 thumping from Everton at Goodison Park. Fighting for Premier League survival, a win over Nigel Worthington’s Norwich would have been invaluable, but City had reason to be just as motivated.
Having suffered an equally dismal campaign, City went into this game bottom of the table, after draws had turned into defeats throughout the season. But spirits were high among Canaries supporters, who had just witnessed a 2-0 win against Manchester United at Carrow Road one week prior.
(Is This The Way To) Amarillo by Tony Christie ft. Peter Kay was number one in the charts, but this was the way to the end of a season to forget for Palace and City.
How did the game unfold?
The Crystal Palace supporters didn’t have to wait long to have something to sing about, as Jonas Kolkka put the home side in front within five minutes of kick-off, scoring from a Michael Hughes free kick.
City’s response came courtesy of their top scorer for 2004-05, Dean Ashton, who equalised on the 22-minute mark. Ashton then opened the second half with the completion of his brace, scoring from the edge of the area to put Norwich 2-1 up.
When Leon McKenzie increased that lead to 3-1 with 53 minutes gone, it looked like there was light at the end of the tunnel for City’s survival hopes.
But this game meant as much to Palace as it did to City, and they weren’t about to go down without a fight. Hughes headed in with 17 minutes to go to pull one back, before Andrew Johnson equalised from the spot with only seven minutes to play.
3-3. A result that ultimately didn’t do anyone any favours in the long run, apart from West Bromwich Albion…
Norwich City: Green, Fleming, Shackell, Helveg, Safri, Drury, Bentley, Francis (Holt 88’), Ashton, Huckerby (Jonson 90’), McKenzie (Svensson 88’)
Subs not used: Ward, Doherty
What happened next?
The pair got relegated with the same number of wins (7), draws (12), defeats (19) and points (33). Palace finished 18th with better goal difference than Norwich, who ended the season in 19th. A win would have been enough to keep either side up, as West Brom finished 17th on 34 points. Southampton were 20th with 32, in a scenario that represented the first time since the advent of the Premier League in 1992 that no team was mathematically relegated before the final day of the season.
Remarkably, for a player who was part of a relegated squad, Johnson finished the season with 21 goals scored for Palace, meaning only Thierry Henry pipped him to the Golden Boot with 25 goals. Johnson was included in the PFA Team of the Year, however.
Norwich returned to the Premier League in 2011, having been relegated to League One and won back-to-back promotions between 2009 and 2011. They then remained in the top flight until 2014, before being relegated again. City went straight back up in 2015, before relegation in 2016. They were then in the Championship until 2019, and we all know what happened next!
Following their 2005 relegation, Palace returned to the Premier League in 2013 and have stayed up ever since, showing consistency to finish between 10th and 15th each year.
What else happened in that season?
- Chelsea won their first title under the stewardship of Jose Mourinho, having gone on an unbeaten run of 29 games.
- Rafael Benitez replaced Gerard Houllier as Liverpool manager and won the Champions League on that famous night in Istanbul.
- Aged 18, Wayne Rooney left Everton for Manchester United for £27million, then a world record fee for a teenager.
- Bolton Wanderers and Middlesbrough qualified for the UEFA Cup, the latter losing to Sevilla in the final in 2005-06.
- Wimbledon FC were reformed under the name MK Dons.
- Nottingham Forest were relegated from the Championship to League One, becoming the first former European Cup winners to fall into the third tier of their domestic league.