Having endured a tough week, Jason Puncheon exorcised his White Hart Lane demons by scoring the only goal of the game to give Tony Pulis a victory against his former side, Stoke City.
The winger popped up in the 51st minute to convert a composed finish after a mistake by Oussama Assaidi and that proved pivotal in helping the Eagles climb out of the relegation zone once again.
The game’s opening chances came from dangerous crosses from either side. In the fifth minute Yannick Bolasie skinned Geoff Cameron on the left flank and floated over a teasing cross which Joel Ward couldn’t quite divert towards goal, but 10 minutes later Marc Wilson went much closer when he ghosted in unmarked to meet a Charlie Adam free-kick but the outstretched Julian Speroni managed to push it away for a corner.
But after a promising start the rest of the first half was a quiet affair with neither side managing to test the opposition goalkeepers, indeed Palace’s only other shots at goal were blocked inadvertently by Marouane Chamakh as he was struck by blasts from Jason Puncheon and Adlene Guedioura.
It took just a minute of the second half for a better chance to be created and it fell to the visitors. A long-ball was expertly held up by Jonathan Walters for Adam who got the ball down and drilled it towards goal and saw shave the far post.
That seemed to wake Palace up and in the 51st minute they took the lead with their first shot on target. After an attack down the right seemed to have fizzled out a loose pass in his own area by Oussama Assaidi was collect by Puncheon, and he showed great composure to cut inside and fire into the bottom corner of Jack Butland’s goal to exorcise last week’s demons.
Mark Hughes’ men came back at the hosts and Adam unleashed a trademark thunderbolt from fully 30 yards which whistled past the post, and with 17 minutes to play Peter Crouch aimed for the same corner with a more guided effort but saw it miss by a similar distance.
The game was nearly wrapped up with five minutes to go but Butland kept his side in the game with three fantastic saves in quick succession. Firstly a Ward shot took a deflection which looked certain to find the net but the young shot-stopper clawed it away, before using his feet to thwart Puncheon and immediately blocked a Stuart O’Keefe strike at close-range.
The Potters pressed late on, throwing Ryan Shawcross up top as a makeshift striker, but it was Palace who came closest to a second goal when Butland denied Puncheon from point-blank range.
However his earlier goal proved enough to give Pulis glory against his former employers in his 200th Premier League game - but more importantly drag Palace out of the drop-zone.
Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr, Bolasie (Moxey 86), Ward, Jedinak, Puncheon, Guedioura (O’Keefe 68), Chamakh (Wilbraham 86).
Subs: Price, O'Keefe, Williams, Bannan, Gayle.
Stoke City: Butland, Cameron, Shawcross, Wilson, Pieters, Whelan (Ireland 57), Nzonzi, Adam, Walters (Guidetti 79), Assaidi (Arnautovic 72), Crouch.
Subs: Sorensen, Muniesa, Shotton, Palacios, Ireland.