FYP was as surprised as anyone when Stern John flicked the ball over two defenders and smashed it against the bar at Derby, for a second we weren’t sure we were watching Palace, but maybe 1970s Brazil.
And although Derby were saved by their crossbar on that occasion, a few minutes later he displayed poise and agility to chest down a bouncing ball and calmly volley it into the corner. (SEE VIDEO)
Who is this man? Is this really the same 33-year-old who struggled to make any telling contributions against Cardiff. The same man who seemed more intent on batting the ball away any time it came near him as Palace went down 2-0 at Selhurst, much like his look-a-like Brian Lara.
How can someone go from being so shit to so effective in a week? The answer is…who cares? He did and now here we are, one point above third-from-bottom Sheffield Wednesday with two games left. Now isn’t time to look back, it’s time to look forward (or down in our case).
John’s moment of magic earned Palace a vital, vital point (repetition for added effect) but Palace will need more of the same against West Brom and Wednesday if we are to stay in this division.
It hasn’t been an easy season for John; injured on the opening day of the season, shipped off to Ipswich and seemingly unwanted at Selhurst. But injuries and the sale of VicMo has brought him back into contention and while he hasn’t exactly set the league alight, that goal at Derby – and the opener at Watford, his first for Palace – we both massive goals.
At 33, we’re not going to see the John that smashed in 25 goals for Columbus Crew in 1998, although to be fair, FYP’s grandma could probably bang in 25 goals in the MLS, and she’s been dead for a few years.
Let’s hope he can keep it up and knock Wednesday for six/keep Palace in the Championship boundary/other cricketing puns.