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Match Reports

Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace

19 December 2015

Stoke City 1-2 Crystal Palace

Connor Wickham and Chung-yong Lee picked the perfect time to get their first Palace Premier League goals as they handed Alan Pardew the perfect Christmas present by clinching three points off Stoke City.

The striker netted from the penalty spot just before half-time to give Alan Pardew’s side the lead, but they would be pegged back when Bojan scored a spot-kick of his own, but Lee’s sensational 30 yard strike flew past Jack Butland with two minutes to go to snatch the victory.

The first 25 minutes of the game saw very little in the way of goalmouth action, with the first chance coming to Palace when Wilfried Zaha tricked his way down the right and blasted a cross into the box which Wickham could only head well wide.

But the hosts would force Wayne Hennessey into his first save soon after. Marco Arnautovic muscled past Joel Ward to get into the box before cutting the ball back to Bojan who was lurking just outside the D, and he smashed a powerful blast towards goal but the Palace keeper beat the ball away.

Ibrahim Afellay was next to try his luck from distance but he could only blaze his effort into the noisy Palace fans behind the goal, and eight minutes before half-time the Potters went much closer when Erik Pieters put a dangerous cross into the box and Marco van Ginkel managed to stab it against the base of the post before the ball was scrambled away.

But just as they did at the Britannia Stadium last season, the Eagles managed to edge in front late in the first half from the penalty spot. Zaha found himself with the ball in the box and was barged over by a clumsy tackle by Glenn Whelan, allowing Wickham the chance to score his first Palace goal from 12 yards which he smashed straight down the middle to hand his side a huge fillip going into the break.

Following the restart Hennessey did well to save from Glen Johnson when the full-back looked set to stick the ball into the bottom corner of the net, but the giant Welshman showed great reactions to get down and claw the ball away.

After that scare Palace began to enjoy their best spell of the match and nearly got themselves two goals ahead when Yannick Bolasie whipped a dangerous cross to the back post where James McArthur was sprinting towards, and he managed to get a touch but saw it blocked by Butland, and then Bolasie embarked on a mazy dribble which saw him beat two Stoke defenders but hammered the ball well off target.

Wickham’s dream day then turned sour when he was forced off with a hamstring strain but his replacement Marouane Chamakh went close when he dribbled 30 yards with the ball but dragged his attempt wide.

Seconds later Hennessey was beaten when Arnautovic saw a shot deflect off McArthur and head goalwards, but Palace breathed a sigh of relief when it dropped wide of the far post, but he made an unbelievable stop to deny Bojan on 73 minutes when the Spaniard got free in the area but somehow the Eagles custodian managed to once again keep the ball out.

But he would finally concede when Stoke were handed a penalty of their own two minutes later when Damien Delaney was adjudged to have handled inside the area, and despite guessing the right way Hennessey couldn’t stop Bojan from equalising.

Xherdan Shaqiri put a curling free-kick fractions off target with six minutes to go and Bolasie had a late chance to win it for his side but Butland saved his shop, but from the resulting corner a melee in the area saw numerous Eagles players have shots before the ball fell to Lee.

The South Korean was 30 yards out but he drilled a perfect shot into the top corner past the despairing dive of Butland to clinch the win as Palace extended their unbeaten run to four games.

Stoke City: Butland, Johnson, Wollscheid, Shawcross, Pieters, Whelan (Walters 65), van Ginkel (Adam 76), Afellay, Arnautovic, Shaqiri, Bojan. Subs not used: Haugaard, Bardsley, Wilson, Joselu, Diouf.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare, Ledley, McArthur, Zaha (Lee 81), Puncheon (Mutch 79), Bolasie, Wickham (Chamakh 63). Subs not used: Speroni, Hangeland, Kelly, Bamford.

CLICK HERE for all the post match reaction videos following the win at Stoke City.

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