BY SAM SMITH
Crystal Palace full-back Joel Ward was unsure how he failed to convert a late chance as the Eagles were beaten 2-1 at Watford.
The 28-year-old was unmarked and rose highest to meet a Patrick van Aanholt corner with what was almost the last touch of the game, but somehow agonisingly missed the target.
“I was disappointed [not to score]. It’s one of them,” said the former Portsmouth defender.
“I’m not quite sure how I missed it. It is what it is. I’m sure I’d take that chance again in another match.
“We’re obviously disappointed not to come away with at least a point. We gave ourselves a lot to do in the second half, going 2-0 down. We were definitely unfortunate not to come away without a point.”
Ward lost his place in the Palace team following an injury in the 2-1 penultimate day victory at Stoke City last season, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka has started every game since – including during pre-season.
But the youngster’s sending-off against Liverpool on Monday provided Ward with his maiden start of the campaign, and – whilst admitting he wants to play – only sees positives in the competition with the England U20 international.
“[The competition is] very positive and it’s only going to raise the bar. I don’t see it as a negative – I like to see it as a positive.
“For me I just take it a game at a time. It’s always up to the staff, I work as hard as I can. It’s my job to make sure I’m ready and fighting fit, ready to go again.
“In the summer I made it very clear that I wanted to stay. Thankfully we came to an agreement. It’s only natural that you want to be in the team.”