West Ham v Crystal Palace
It was an action packed final visit to The Boleyn Ground for Palace as they came away with a hard-fought point against one of the Premier League's form teams.
The Hammers started on the front foot and looked the stronger of the two sides, enjoying a lot of the ball in the middle of the pitch while Palace sat back and kept their shape. Despite having a lot of possession, the home side didn't really get a clear sight of goal and it was against the run of play that Palace grabbed the opener.
Bakary Sako curled a free kick in from the right, which evaded everyone and to Adrian by surprise. The Hammers' stopper could only parry the bouncing delivery and Damien Delaney was first to respond and gratefully nodded the ball into the empty net.
However, West Ham's response was near instant. Within three minutes of Palace's opener Manuel Lanzini had seized on a loose ball and crashed a first time effort into the bottom corner of the net from close range.
They continued to push the Eagles back, trying to take the lead, but Palace held firm and managed to threaten West Ham on the break. A perfectly weighted cross by Pape Souare on 32 minutes was volleyed over from six yards out by Jason Puncheon in Palace's best chance after the goals.
In the closing minutes of the first half West Ham took the lead. A poorly timed challenge by Joel Ward on Dimitri Payet gifted the Frenchman a chance to shoot from a free kick 22 yards out. Despite a seven man wall Palace couldn't deny Payet from finding the top right corner with a stunning strike to send the home side into the half time break ahead.
The second period was less action packed but Palace remained on the back foot. West Ham passed the ball freely around the middle of the park for much of the first 15 minutes after the restart without fashioning any real opportunities.
On 65 minutes Palace had their best chance to draw level. Dwight Gayle hunted down Adrian who had come to clear a soft pass back, got a touch on his clearance and it fell kindly for Joe Ledley who was aware enough to feed Sako a square ball on the edge of the area. The winger took a touch, picked his spot and curled the ball goalwards only for Aaron Cresswell to race back and clear it off the line.
Minutes later Palace were handed a golden opportunity when Cheikhou Kouyate was sent off for a studs up challenge on Dwight Gayle. The Eagles immediately went on the attack and looked to find a way back into the game. A wonderful, inviting cross from Bolasie was skied by Sako shortly after Kouyate's dismissal but it wasn't long before the man advantage paid off.
A poor clearance from a Souare cross fell perfectly for Gayle to coolly slot below Adrian and into the net in front of the away fans and pull Palace level. It was an open game from then on, with both sides having chances to snatch the three points, but neither could and it finished level at 2-2.
Palace XI: Hennessey; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Souare; Zaha (Gayle, 46), Puncheon, Jedinak, Ledley (Campbell, 70), Sako; Bolasie.
Subs: McCarthy, Mariappa, Kelly, Lee, Mutch.
West Ham XI: Adrian, Reid, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Kouyate, Noble (Obiang, 79), Payet, Lanzini, Emenike (Carroll, 59), Sakho (Valencia, 68), Antonio.
Subs: Randolph, Tomkins, Song, Moses.