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MATCH REPORT

PUBLISHED
17:06 27th August 2016


An injury-time header from Scott Dann snatched a deserved point for Crystal Palace as they got off the mark in the Premier League against Bournemouth.

The Eagles skipper finally found a breakthrough that seemed destined not to arrive despite plenty of pressure from the hosts, who had fallen behind on nine minutes when Joshua King drilled home.

Yohan Cabaye missed a penalty and Dann saw a header scrambled off the line as Palace pressed for an equaliser, which finally came in the nick of time.

The Cherries enjoyed a lively start and regularly found themselves with the ball in the final third during the opening 10 minutes, and that period ended with the opening goal. Andrew Surman clipped a free-kick into the area from the right which was cleared by Christian Benteke to the edge of the area where Harry Arter was waiting. After cushioning the ball on his chest, he lobbed it into the path of King who drilled a low shot on the angle past the outstretched glove of Steve Mandanda to grab an early goal.

But the Eagles were handed a chance to quickly get back into the game just four minutes later when Benteke’s shirt was pulled by Charlie Daniels inside the area, and Mike Dean pointed to the spot. Cabaye stepped up and saw his attempt saved by Artur Boruc who guessed the right way and got two hands to the ball as a golden chance went begging.

The Polish stopper was then forced to make another stop when Andros Townsend whipped a cross into the area on the right flank which bent wickedly and nearly found the top corner but the back-peddling keeper managed to palm it to safety,  but 10 minutes before the break it was the other glovesman who was called into action when the energetic Callum Wilson and King linked up to play in the former after a swift break but as he looked to slip the ball under Mandanda the Frenchman anticipated it and managed to save his side from going two goals behind.

Following that scare, King brushed a free-kick from the edge of the area against the top of the netting and Jason Puncheon bent a shot well over the top as the Eagles returned to the changing room still searching for their first league goal of the campaign.

Opting not to make any changes at the break, Pardew saw his team come back out rejuvenated and five minutes after the restart Scott Dann nearly replicated his goal against the Cherries in last season’s corresponding fixture but Arter was well-place to block it on the line before Simon Francis tidied up, and then from another corner Connor Wickham lashed a god opportunity over the bar when the ball dropped to his feet.

Palace were much improved from their first half display and James McArthur headed off-target just before the hour mark minutes before Benteke did the same from a Puncheon corner, and with Bournemouth rocking Steve Cook nearly sliced the ball into his own net trying to clear a Pape Souare header, and from the resulting corner a goalmouth scramble ensued that the Cherries were lucky to escape from.

Time and again the hosts carved open opportunities but just couldn’t finish them, and substitutes Wilfried Zaha and Chung-yong Lee created another on 74 minutes which the South Korean screwed over the bar, and Townsend lashed another attempt into the side-netting amid calls for a second penalty after Benteke tumbled inside area under pressure from two defenders.

There was a late chance for Eddie Howe’s outfit to seal the win when Dan Gosling picked out a good run by Adam Smith who teed up Ryan Fraser at the front post but he dragged it wide, and then a final push encapsulated Palace’s afternoon as Boruc saved a Lee shot and Joel Ward seemed destined to tuck home the rebound by a superb dive by Cook blocked the attempt away.

It looked as though it was going to be another frustrating day at the office for the Eagles but they finally found the breakthrough in the nick of time. Puncheon and Benteke combined on the edge of the box and the winger crossed for Dann to plant a perfect header past the helpless Boruc to snatch a dramatic draw.

Palace: Mandanda, Ward, (Kelly 88), Dann, Delaney, Souare, McArthur (Lee 65), Puncheon, Cabaye, Townsend, Wickham (Zaha 65), Benteke. Subs not used: Speroni, Tomkins, Ledley, Boateng.

Bournemouth: Boruc, A. Smith, Francis, Cook, Daniels, Surman, Arter, Fraser (Ake 88), Ibe (Gosling 56), King, Wilson (Grabban 70). Subs not used: Federici, B. Smith, Ake, Gradel, Afobe.