The ball swirled and swerved. Plastic bags and sheets of newspaper whipped across the turf. TV cameras zoomed in on the corner flag, violently flapping and bending in the north eastern gusts.

Basically, the weather was more interesting and unpredictable than the 90 minutes of football.

From what I could tell anyway - I watched the game at home, in the sort of quality that makes VHS look like HD.

Talking of dodgy streams, Alan Pardew - beginning his long head-butt ban - watched his Newcastle side lose from a hotel room, and so I assume had a similar viewing experience.

I mention Pards because on Saturday the Daily Mail linked the ex-Palace FA Cup semi-final hero (and ex-Charlton manager) to a Selhurst move in the summer.

Their logic seems to be based on three or four hypothetical situations.

Tony Pulis and Steve Parish will devastatingly fall out, Mike Ashley will finally sack Pardew, the stars will align, there will be an unpredicted solar eclipse and the silver haired forehead-charmer will be anointed as the Eagles' boss.

Almost certainly utter rubbish.

Part of the logic involves the Palace powers that be disagreeing with Pulis enough, over topics ranging from transfers to summer foreign tours, to cause an unrepairable ruction.

This does not take into account that on hiring Pulis everybody concerned knew what to expect. And he's done exceptionally well so far, in the exact manner he’s known for.

Nevertheless, Saturday was the uglier end of his ugly style. But we came away from the Stadium of Light with a point - only our eighth point on the road all season.

It was painful to watch as thump after thump ballooned into the stratosphere, looped in the wind before being hoisted back into the sky, backwards, by Mile Jedinak.

Without Marouane Chamakh, we lacked composure on the ball in the crucial areas of the pitch, and everything felt panicked and tense.

Yet no matter how horrendous the performance, we got something from the game, which could be invaluable when the season draws to a close.

I thought the referee did not have a great game either, which negatively affected the match.

There was an impressive number of niggling fouls by both sides, but having set an early precedent to show a yellow card for near enough every challenge, the referee then spent the second half trying desperately hard not to send anybody off.

It was inconsistent, disruptive and annoying - as were the fouls themselves.

I hate to say it, but that was the game plan. Don't let Sunderland play, try to play against them on the break.

Croydon Guardian:

Rock: Scott Dann and his defensive team-mates kept the Black Cats quiet

But as Palace were dire on the attack it became a case of stopping the Black Cats, which we did well. Even if they came a crossbar’s width away from scoring towards the end.

Scott Dann, Damien Delaney and Joel Ward were defensive rocks - even Adrian Mariappa had a solid game.

For all a performance like that offends Arsenal/Barcelona/whoever fans and their tiki-taka, futsal, keepy-uppy aesthetical sensibilities, we didn't lose. And in a relegation battle that's essential.

Would Pardew make Palace better? Who knows, his side lost to Fulham. As it happens we travel back t'north next weekend to play his side.

And there's the soap opera narrative readymade. I’m sure the Daily Mail weren’t even thinking of that when they invented their “story”. Not one bit.