BY RICHARD CAWLEY
Joel Ward could not take maximum pleasure from ending his wait for a Crystal Palace goal.
The 29-year-old right-back, only in the Eagles side due to Aaron Wan-Bissaka being sidelined with a hamstring injury, headed home in the 66th minute of Wednesday’s 3-1 home loss to Manchester United.
Ward’s last goal for Palace came in a 2-1 victory at Southampton in January 2016.
“It was nice to get on the scoresheet but the result is all that matters,” he said. “In the first half we were stand-offish a little bit. In the second half we gave them some issues and created chances.
“On another day we would’ve got another goal to make it 2-2 and carried that momentum in.
“Unfortunately we didn’t capitalise on that. We had a few chances after flooding the box.”
Wan-Bissaka is expected to be fit for tomorrow’s match at Burnley. His injury had opened the door for Ward, who has played back to back Premier League matches for the first time since August.
He is on 215 matches for the Eagles, scoring five goals.
“I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t want to play,” said Ward.
“When I get the opportunity I want to take it, I love being on the pitch – it’s something I’ve wanted to do since I was a young boy.
“I’ll give 100 per cent every time I cross that white line.”
United, despite missing a number of big-hitters, still had enough class and quality to end Palace’s six-game unbeaten run – four of those victories.
“We’ll take the positives out of this game,” said Ward. “We know the squad has got quality and depth. We certainly cause teams issues, we showed that against Leicester. And you saw that for periods of the game [on Wednesday].”
There are fears that Mamadou Sakho (knee) will be out for at least four months.
The French centre-back, on crutches at the United match, came off in the 77th minute against Leicester on Saturday.