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Crystal Palace 2–1 Tottenham: Gayle force Punch knocks out Spurs

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ALAN Pardew got off to a great start in the Premier League as Crystal Palace boss as his side came from behind to beat Tottenham Hotspur this evening.

It was just one win in 14 league games going into the clash at Selhurst Park for the Eagles.

Dwight Gayle and Jason Puncheon were the heroes, finding the back of the net in front of the Holmesdale Stand after Harry Kane had put the visitors ahead.

The win moves Palace up in to 15th place – out of the relegation zone – and on to 20 points.

Moussa Dembele had the first chance of the clash, shooting wide of the target from outside the box.

Barry Bannan, given a rare start in the Premier League, fired over from a quickly-taken free-kick shortly afterwards.

Nacer Chadli tried to con referee Anthony Taylor by going down in the danger area without any contact, and the home faithful were stunned when the official failed to brandish a yellow card.

Harry Kane saw a shot easily gathered by Julian Speroni before Christian Eriksen wasted a glorious chance to put the visitors ahead.

Kyle Walker played a wicked ball in across the six-yard, and after the ball took a slight nick off a defender, it fell to the Danish playmaker but his first-time shot went inches wide.

Palace responded when James McArthur headed over from Dwight Gayle's cross, before Scott Dann rose to meet a Bannan free-kick, but after the ball pinballed about in the mixer, Damien Delaney fired over.

Tottenham forced three corners in quick succession around the half-hour mark, but good defending from Delaney and Murray diverted the danger away.

However, Palace should have taken the lead after 35 minutes through the latter.

Martin Kelly played the ball into McArthur's feet on the edge of the box and the Scotsman threaded onwards to Murray, but Hugo Lloris came racing out to thwart the striker.

With minutes remaining of the first period, Palace felt they should have had a free-kick right on the edge of the box when Gayle appeared to be brought down by Fazio.

Running on to a long ball, the striker got in front of the defender, who appeared to nudge him enough to go to ground – but referee Taylor was having none of it.

It didn't take long for the second half to become lively, as Tottenham took the lead through their red-hot striker Harry Kane.

Picking up the ball 20 yards out in line with Joel Ward, the England U21 star drilled a shot into the bottom corner with Eagles stopper Julian Speroni rooted.

Palace nearly responded immediately through Gayle, whose first time shot from close range was well held by Lloris, and then the striker saw his goal-bound scissor kick come off Jan Vertonghen and into the goalkeeper's hands.

But midway through the half, Gayle got Palace back on level terms from the penalty spot. Joe Ledley was adjudged to have been tripped in the area, and despite Murray's calls to take the kick, skipper Delaney insisted Gayle should step up.

And he did just that, drilling past Lloris to send Selhurst Park crazy.

Wilfried Zaha came on for Murray soon after, and the winger did well to beat Walker before forcing a corner.

There were huge calls for handball against Walker minutes later just inside the box when McArthur looked to pick out Puncheoh unmarked, the ball struck the England defender's arm but he was looking the other way in the process and nothing was given.

However, it didn't matter as Palace took a dramatic lead with ten minutes or so remaining. And it was thanks to a lovely finish from Puncheon.

After some great play Zaha on the left, he found Puncheon 15 yards out and the Croydon-born man drilled first time into the bottom corner to send Selhurst Park delirious.

Spurs fought hard for an equaliser as you'd expect but the Eagles held firm and could have snatched a third.

Zaha it was with two late chances on the counter-attack but Lloris foiled him on both occasions.

But it didn't matter in the end as the hosts held on superbly to move out of the relegation zone.

A big trip to Burnley is next up at Turf Moor.

Palace: Speroni, Ward, Kelly, Dann, Delaney, McArthur, Ledley, Bannan (Guedioura 46), Puncheon, Gayle (Campbell 87), Murray (Zaha 74).

Subs Not Used: Hennessey, Mariappa, Hangeland, Thomas.

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Report by Mark Ritson, at Selhurst Park

Crystal Palace 2–1 Tottenham: Gayle force Punch knocks out Spurs


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