WBA 2-0 Crystal Palace
CRYSTAL Palace slumped to another Premier League defeat today when the managerless strugglers were beaten at West Bromwich Albion.
The Eagles looked set to go in all-square at the break until substitute Saido Berahino put the Baggies in front on 44 minutes.
And Gareth McAuley’s header seven minutes from time consigned Palace to a ninth defeat from the opening ten games to leave the Londoners propping up the rest of the table.
The visitors had the first chance on 11 minutes when Marounae Chamakh headed the ball into the path of Adlene Guedioura, whose first-time volley was punched away by Baggies keeper Boaz Myhill.
Youssouf Mulumbu was unfortunate not to latch onto Chris Brunt’s pass having beaten the offside trap, while Chamakh really should have done better after dispossessing a West Brom midfielder before going wide of goal instead of straight at it and then being tackled.
Guedioura left the field on a stretcher after what looked like an innocuous collision with Myhill to be replaced by Jason Puncheon as the Eagles were forced into an unwanted first half substitution.
Chamakh to his credit defended a couple of West Brom corners well by heading the danger clear and Barry Bannan’s free-kick from the left into the area was easily gathered by Myhill as Palace threatened at the other end.
Gabbidon made a crucial headed clearance to put behind Stephane Sessegnon’s dangerous looking cross and James Morrison claimed his long range effort had been deflected behind by a Palace player, a suggestion which failed to impress referee Neil Swarbrick.
Puncheon dragged a low shot well wide of the target but it was the hosts who broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time.
Sessegnon got clear on the left and picked out Berahino, who was on as a 31st minute substitute for the injured Billy Jones, and his crisp finish from just inside the area flew past Julian Speroni.
Berahino tested Speroni again deep into first half stoppage time with a powerful long range effort.
Early in the second half Joel Ward did well to put behind Morgan Amalfitano’s delivery and then Myhill made a simple save from Mile Jedinak’s header after the Aussie connected with Bannan’s free-kick.
Gabbidon came to Palace’s rescue by clearing Amalfitano’s drive off the line and Myhill had to be alert to tip behind Puncheon’s deflected shot as the game continued to swing from end to end.
Eagles skipper Jedinak had his head in his hands after heading about a foot wide from Jerome Thomas’ corner, a telling sign as it really should have been 1-1.
Chamakh’s poor second touch after meeting Damien Deleaney’s header into the box took the ball wide.
Dean Moxey made a perfectly timed challenge inside the box to prevent Shane Long doubling Albion’s advantage, injuring himself in the process.
Palace again had a lucky escape as Brunt came within inches of making it 2-0 after being found inside the box by Sessegnon’s pass.
But that vital second goal finally arrived seven minutes from time when McAuley rose above Jedinak to head home past Speroni from Brunt’s corner.
Delaney saw an overhead kick easily caught by Myhill and then Jerome Thomas drilled a volley inches over the bar with virtually the last kick of the game.
This Premier League lark doesn’t get any easier – Everton at home next.
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Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Delaney, Gabbidon, Moxey, Dikgacoi (Gayle 79), Jedinak, Bannan (Bolasie 65), Thomas, Guedioura (Puncheon 22), Chamakh. Subs not used: Price, Mariappa, Phillips, O’Keefe.
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