Angel Rangel’s winner five minutes from time saw Swansea City claim a big win in this basement battle as Sam Allardyce’s first home game in charge ended in defeat.
Paul Clement’s new side took a first half lead when Alfie Mawson nodded in a Gylfi Sigurdsson free-kick, but it looked as though Wilfried Zaha signed off for the Africa Cup of Nations with a magnificent scissor kick to snatch a point.
However just five minutes later Rangel popped up to score his first goal for three-and-a-half years to steal the points despite a fine second half showing from the Eagles.
The first half though had belonged to Alan Curtis’ side, and five minutes in Wayne Routledge wriggled away from a couple of Palace defenders to cross for Fernando Llorente whose header whistled just past the post, and then 11 minutes later a swift counter-attack saw the Spaniard burst into the area and unselfishly tee up Jack Cork but his first touch was heavy and Wayne Hennessey managed to spread himself and block.
The visitors then came close again from the resulting corner when a clever low delivery by Sigurdsson gave Ki Sung-yueng a chance to blast goalwards but it was well off-target, and Selhurst was getting nervy after another set-piece fell kindly to Federico Fernandez but his header rippled the top of the Holmesdale Road net.
Palace struggled to click into gear throughout the opening 45 minutes and their only moments of threat came when a Hennessey clearance made its way right into the area where Christian Benteke was ready to pounce. He was upended by Lukasz Fabianski but no penalty was given, and soon after a scuffed volley by Jason Puncheon sailed harmlessly wide.
Despite the warning signs, another Sigurdsson delivery would cause Palace’s undoing with three minutes of the half remaining, as he swung another dangerous delivery into the box which Mawson managed to glance his head across, and made the perfect connection as it found the side-netting of Hennessey’s goal to send the travelling support crazy.
Things went from bad to worse when Benteke was forced off with a shoulder injury sustained in the challenge with Fabianski with Fraizer Campbell taking his place, and Allardyce further shuffled his pack with the introduction of Bakary Sako and the winger soon forced Fabianski to beat a free-kick over the bar.
That began to help crank up the volume inside the old ground, and Joe Ledley went close when his sweetly-struck volley unfortunately hit a prone Campbell, and on 68 minutes Sako took aim in a similar fashion from the same spot but lashed it into the stand.
If the Swans had bossed the first half, it was all the Eagles in the second and they saw another claim for a penalty waved away with 12 minutes remaining when Rangel flicked the ball away with his hand as Sako bulldozered his way into the box once more, but eventually the pressure told and on 83 minutes Palace found a magnificent leveller.
A ball into the box was held up by Campbell and he laid it off to Martin Kelly on the right. The full-back whipped a great cross into the area towards Zaha, who showed fantastic flexibility to scissor kick the ball on the volley and fire it into the net to level the scores with a classic strike.
However it was in vain as with their next attack, the Swans managed to muster a way to snatch the points. A clipped pass by Leroy Fer split the Eagles defence and Rangel squeezed through, who he fired the ball towards the target, and despite getting a hand on it, Hennessey couldn’t prevent it creeping over the line and ensuring the points went to south Wales.
Palace: Hennessey, Kelly (Mutch 90), Delaney, Tomkins, Ward, Ledley, Puncheon, Zaha, Cabaye, Townsend (Sako 52), C. Benteke (Campbell 46). Subs not used: Speroni, Phillips, Flamini, Mutch, Lee.
Swansea: Fabianski, Naughton, Mawson, Fernandez, Taylor (Rangel 70), Ki, Cork, Fulton (Fer 69), Routledge (Dyer 79), Sigurdsson, Llorente. Subs not used: Nordfeldt, van der Hoorn, Barrow, Baston.