Crystal Palace 3-1 West Bromich Albion - Tom Ince and Joe Ledley score on Premier League debuts at Selhurst Park
Palace moved to 13th in the Premier League with a 3-1 home victory against West Bromwich Albion thanks to first-half strikes from debutants Tom Ince and Joe Ledley and a second half Marouane Chamakh penalty.
The talk before the game was about which of Tony Pulis’ deadline day signings would make their debuts and whether Glenn Murray would feature in the squad, but it quickly became a question of who would leave the ground without a goal as the home side caused the visitors defence numerous problems.
The Eagles lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation which saw Ince slot in behind Chamakh up front, Ledley at left back in place of Jonathan Parr and Scott Dann replace Danny Gabbidon on the right side of Damien Delaney in central defence.
Ince was a constant threat to the visitors, drawing numerous free-kicks and creating opportunities with his clever passing, but it was the side from the Midlands who had the first clear-cut opportunity of the game on seven minutes as Scott Dann was undone by a long ball from Chris Brunt but Victor Anichebe could only shoot tamely at Julian Speroni.
Ince was not to be denied though as in the 15th minute a Joel Ward free-kick found its way on to Chamakh’s head after Brunt misjudged his jump, then onto Yannick Bolasie who dribbled his way to the edge of the six-yard box and was clipped by Zoltan Gera, but referee Chris Foy waved play on and Ince - not breaking his stride - deftly slotted over the onrushing Ben Foster to make it 1-0 to the Eagles.
The home side continued to create chances from their possession and more was to come from Ince as his 27th minute corner saw Ledley bullet in a header from close range unhindered after losing his marker Gareth McAuley and put Palace 2-0 up.
West Brom made a double substitution at the beginning of the second half and it paid dividends within 60 seconds thanks to the on-loan Thievy Bifouma who beat Damien Delaney to slot the ball past Julian Speroni at his near post.
Palace and the home fans were nervy and if it were not for a world-class save from Speroni in the 67th minute from Scott Sinclair then the game would have been level at 2-2.
However, the visitors came to rue this save as just a minute later Chamakh was brought to the ground in the area by Foster who appeared to get to the ball first, but the Moroccan paid no attention to the protestations and dispatched the subsequent penalty into the back of the net with ease.
Home fans gave even a bigger cheer in the 72nd minute when Glenn Murray returned to first team football for the first time since May 2013 when he came on in place of Jason Puncheon.
Palace next face Everton away on Wednesday (12th February) night.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Ledley, Puncheon (Murray, 72), Dikgacoi, Jedinak, Bolasie (Parr, 76), Ince, Chamakh (Thomas, 83).
Palace subs not used: Hennessey, Gabbidon, Bannan, Gayle.
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