Crystal Palace were eliminated from the FA Cup against a strong Wolverhampton Wanderers on Friday night, with Adama Traore scoring an eye-catching goal in the first-half to ensure the hosts' progression.
- Roy Hodgson names a strong, shuffled lineup as Jack Butland earns his Palace debut
- After a quiet start, Wolves manage a few attacking efforts Palace appear comfortable with
- Wolves’ Adama Traore nets after 35 minutes with a powerful strike
- Half-time: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Crystal Palace
- Palace start the second-half stronger, but Butland is the ‘keeper forced into action to deny Leander Dendoncker
- Hodgson makes a double change after 70 minutes as the Eagles pursue a level footing
- The swaps have an impact, but the Eagles cannot open their account
- Full-time: Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 Crystal Palace
As both sides fielded strong, competitive lineups in clear statements of cup intent, each team began in a fairly guarded manner, either the bitter Midlands cold or ruthless nature of knock-out tournaments dictating the clash’s early flow.
Similarly, the two again mimicked styles when narrowly missing the target in the 13th minute: Fabio Silva heading high from eight yards and Eberechi Eze striking over from 20.
Wolves then carried the attacking baton when debutant Jack Butland was forced to deny a powerful Nelson Semedo shot and catch Silva’s follow-up effort.
The Eagles sat relatively deep as Wolves dominated mostly unthreatening possession – this approach left the largely unwatched pre-match lights show as perhaps the most enthralling part of the evening at that point.
However, that soon changed when the hosts’ Adama Traore unleashed a fierce effort from the edge of the box which flew home and secured his team the advantage.
The Eagles mounted a late push to find an equaliser, but with just minutes until half-time, their efforts were not afforded enough time to make an impact.
Through his eye-catching first goal in a year, then, Adama ensured Wolves entered the break on top with his effort and the possession stats the major things separating the sides.
Palace returned for the second-half with a more prominent spring in their step and enjoyed far more possession in their hosts’ territory.
Eze was handed a succession of free-kicks within the first 10 minutes, however Wolves were equal to them and left goalkeeper John Ruddy with clean palms.
Butland would not experience such an evening when the home side retaliated with a gilt-edged chance. Adama fed Leander Dendoncker in the box, but the Belgian’s resulting effort was acrobatically saved by Butland at point-blank range.
The Eagles sought to hunt their equaliser with greater urgency when Roy Hodgson added to his half-time swap of Cheikhou Kouyate for Mamadou Sakho by fielding Wilfried Zaha and Tyrick Mitchell in place of Christian Benteke and James McCarthy.
These changes certainly inspired a greater attacking impetus, typified when Michy Batshuayi fed Zaha on the right-wing before roaming into the box to challenge for Zaha’s resulting cross. Conor Coady, however, stood between the No.23 and scoring.
As the clocked ticked down, Palace sustained their improved, agruably dominant second-half display, however were still unable to trouble Ruddy and the final whistle signified their exit from this season's FA Cup.
Wolves: Ruddy, Ait-Nouri, Saiss, Coady, Semedo, Neves, Dendoncker (Hoever 85), Neto, Moutinho, Adama (Gibbs-White 69), Silva (Cutrone 78).
Subs not used: Patricio, Vitinha, Richards, Kilman, Otasowie, Corbeanu.
Palace: Butland, Van Aanholt, Sakho (Kouyate 45), Tomkins, Clyne, Eze, Riedewald, McCarthy (Mitchell 70), Ayew, Benteke (Zaha 70), Batshuayi (Townsend 85).
Subs not used: Guaita, Ward, McArthur, Milivojevic.