For the second successive occasion, Palace and Burnley played out a five-goal thriller at Turf Moor but this time it was the Clarets who enjoyed the late drama as Ashley Barnes’ goal in stoppage-time snatched victory for the home side.
An awful start from the Eagles saw them fall 2-0 behind after just 16 minutes when Sam Vokes and Yohann Gudmundsson netted, but the comeback was on when seconds after being introduced by Alan Pardew,
Connor Wickham halves the deficit with his first touch.
Then with nine minutes to go Benteke slotted in a penalty to draw his side level again, but in the second minute of injury-time Palace, pressing for a winner themselves, were caught on the counter and Barnes completed a swift move to deliver a hammer blow to Pardew’s men.
The game was only 78 seconds old when Burnley took the lead. A swift counter attack saw right-back Matt Lowton pick out Gudmundsson at the back post, and after controlling the ball his cross reached the defender again. Lowton’s shot was blocked on the line by Martin Kelly, but the ball squirmed around the goalline before eventually being bundled into the net by Vokes to establish a quickfire advantage.
A similar situation had played itself out when the teams last met at this venue when Jason Puncheon was instrumental in turning things around, and a few minutes after suffering the setback he tested Tom Heaton with a low attempt but it was comfortably saved, but then the England goalkeeper had to be at his best to deny Wilfried Zaha when he was found by Christian Benteke in the box, however the shot-stopper denied him with a reaction save from point-blank range on 13 minutes.
That proved hugely crucial as seconds later, just as they had in the last meeting, the Clarets raced into a two goal-lead. Vokes held the ball up on the halfway line and slipped a pass into the advancing Gudmundsson, whose route towards goal was held up by Joel Ward. With no options, he took aim from 20 yards and his powerful effort was blocked by Steve Mandanda, however the ball spun backwards and looped its way over the line to double the lead.
Reeling, Palace began attempts to reduce the deficit and on 33 minutes Andros Townsend had looked to have done just that. Ward’s low centre was knocked back to the winger on the edge of the area and he hammered the ball goalwards, leaving Heaton stranded, but the strike whistled fractions past the post when seemingly destined to crash into the net.
There was another good opportunity for the Eagles three minutes before the break when Townsend tricked his way down the right and put a through-ball into James McArthur who in turn found Benteke waiting on the penalty spot, but his first-time snapshot was straight at Heaton, and then a minute later the burly Belgian saw a header flash wide of the target.
Pardew’s side came out for the second half unchanged, but the scoreline nearly did once again four minutes after the restart when Scott Arfield tucked the ball into Vokes and the Welshman bundled around the edge of the area before trickling a shot just wide, and a minute later he forced Mandanda into a double save when he hurtled goalward and was twice brilliantly denied by the left hand of the Frenchman who managed to just about keep the visitors in the contest.
But on the hour mark Palace gave themselves a lifeline when they managed to pull one back. For the first time all afternoon, Wilfried Zaha managed to knock the ball past Jon Flanagan and beat the full-back to whip a brilliant delivery into the area, and having been on the pitch for just a minute, Wickham managed to thump the ball high into the net with his first touch to give the Eagles hope.
And after plenty of sustained pressure, they were literally handed a chance to draw level on 81 minutes when Townsend pushed on down the left and sent a cross into the area which was blocked by the outstretched hand of Lowton, and showing plenty of guts after his miss against West Ham United, Benteke strolled up to casually roll the ball into the bottom corner and equalise.
That looked to have sealed a point for the visitors, but in stoppage time they were cruelly denied a share of the spoils. Pushing for a winner, Palace were caught on the counter attack as Barnes broke and played the ball out to Gudmudsson. He then picked the perfect moment to square back into the substitute’s path who dispatched the chance and make it 3-2.
The action wasn’t over though and with their final desperate attack, Townsend thumped the ball off the base of the post with seconds remaining, but ultimately Palace fell to their fourth straight defeat.
Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Mee, Keane, Flanagan, Hendrick (Barnes 85), Marney, Arfield (Boyd 66), Defour (Tarkowski 74), Gudmudsson, Vokes. Subs: Robinson, Kightly, Gray, Bamford.
Palace: Mandanda, Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly (Fryers 58), Townsend, Cabaye, Puncheon (Wickham 58), McArthur (Ledley 87), Zaha, Benteke, Subs: Hennessey, Tomkins, Flamini, Lee.