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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
21:59 30th June 2015


A second half comeback by Palace fell just short as they were edged out by the odd goal in five at The Hawthorns.

A poor first-half from the visitors saw Albion take a 3-0 lead into half-time thanks to strikes from Craig Gardner, Craig Dawson and Saido Berahino, but Connor Wickham pulled one back three minutes after the restart before rifling home his second 10 minutes from time.

Despite that though the Eagles couldn’t conjure up an equaliser and their search for a league win stretched to 10 games as Tony Pulis’ side held on to the three points.

The game’s opening goal took just 11 minutes to arrive. Berahino picked the ball up on the halfway line and burst forward before slipping in Salomon Rondon and the Venezuelan powered a shot towards goal which was saved by the outstretched leg of Wayne Hennessey, but the rebound landed on a plate for Gardner to drill home and put his side ahead.

And eight minutes later they doubled it with a simple set-piece. After winning a free-kick on the edge of the area, the goalscorer turned provider as Gardner whipped it into the box for Dawson to slam a header into the corner of the net.

Incredibly with their third attempt of the game, Albion scored their third goal on the half hour mark with a well-worked move. A long ball by Gareth McAuley was held up well by Rondon who edged it out to Stephane Sessegnon, and he put a terrific cross into the box which Berahino dispatched first-time past Hennessey and give the Eagles a mountain to climb.

It took Palace 38 minutes to carve out their first opportunity when Martin Kelly got down the right and centred for Jordon Mutch inside the area but he couldn’t keep his header on target, but in first-half stoppage time only the woodwork spared Palace further embarrassment when Gardner saw a low drilled free-kick clip the heel of Joel Ward and hit the base of the post, but Mutch then saw a goalbound effort cleared away by Jonas Olsson who was guarding his line.

But three minutes after the restart Palace found a lifeline. A clearing header by Damien Delaney looped over everyone and Olsson hesitated, thinking that Ben Foster would clear the danger, but Wickham nipped in to loft the ball over the keeper and stroke it home to reduce the deficit.

Pardew’s men then saw a strong penalty appeal waved away when Scott Dann looked to be pushed in the back by McAuley at a corner, but a quick counter-attack allowed Berahino to cut inside Kelly and bend the ball towards the top corner however once again the frame of the goal came to the visitors’ rescue as the attempt struck the bar. 

Sessegnon then saw a low shot on the turn saved by Hennessey before Palace had another appeal for a spot-kick denied by Jonathan Moss when Yannick Bolasie was blocked in the area by Darren Fletcher.

But with 10 minutes to go it was game on once again when Mutch clipped a free-kick into the area which was contested by Dann and the ball fell to the feet of Wickham who hammered it left-footed into the top corner of Foster’s goal to give his side a sniff of a point.

Dann then saw a header cleared off the line by Gardner two minutes later and Ward saw a 25 yard volley fly over but it was too little too late for the Eagles as the hosts edged over the line to claim the win.

West Bromwich Albion: Foster, Dawson, McAuley, Olsson, Brunt (Chester 44), Gardner, Fletcher, Yacob, Sessegnon (McClean 74), Berahino, Rondon (Sandro 87). Subs not used: Myhill, Pritchard, Anichebe, Lambert.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dan, Delaney, Kelly, Zaha, Cabaye (Gayle 80), Ledley (Jedinak 81), Mutch, Adebayor (Bolasie 45), Wickham. Subs not used: Speroni, Mariappa, Lee, Chamakh.