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First Team

Report: Crystal Palace 0-2 Burnley

29 April 2017

Palace’s wait to clinch Premier League safety will go on a little longer after Burnley picked up their first away win of the season at Selhurst Park.

Goals five minutes from the start and end from Ashley Barnes and Andre Gray clinched a massive win for the visitors who leapfrogged the Eagles in the table, leaving Sam Allardyce’s men seven points clear of the drop zone with three games to go.

Despite having much less time to recover for this game than the Clarets, Palace were much the brighter in the early afternoon spring sunshine, and after a flurry of corners they had the first sight of goal when Christian Benteke cut inside and let fly with a powerful drive that forced Tom Heaton to dive through the air and beat the ball away.

However, that was as good as things got for the host in the first 45 minutes, and with their first foray forward the visitors managed to scramble home the opening goal after seven minutes. After Barnes won possession in the final third off Luka Milivojevic, the ball moved through Sam Vokes, Ashley Westwood and Stephen Ward, and the right-back found Barnes inside the box. His initial shot was a miskick but allowed to him bundle past Martin Kelly, and with his second chance he fired the ball between the legs of Wayne Hennessey and stun Selhurst.

The former Brighton striker thought he had got on the scoresheet again eight minutes later in similar fashion after Michael Keane had nodded down into his path, but Barnes used his arm to control the ball initially before scuffing it home, and his elaborate celebrations were cut short by referee Bobby Madley.

Desperate to get to safety, Sean Dyche’s side continued to look the more threatening and Vokes headed a Matthew Lowton cross just over his international teammate Hennessey’s crossbar, however aiming to get over the 40-point mark themselves Palace finally had a another chance when a corner was only cleared to Milivojevic inside the box, but the Serbian blasted wide.

That was a brief respite though and a couple of minutes later Vokes once again showed his aerial presence as he got on the end of another Ward delivery but Hennessey just about managed to scramble it away from his goalline as Palace escaped into the changing rooms just one behind at the break.

Allardyce’s team showed some improvement in the early stages of the second half and Milivojevic again tried his luck when he fired goalwards from range but Heaton was equal to it, and then Damien Delaney nearly netted an acrobatic volley which was heading for the top corner but the England shot-stopper managed to push the effort over.

The Eagles found themselves camped in the Burnley half but simply unable to unlock a resolute and organised backline that seemed to be first to every cross, with only a couple of late blasts from the edge of the area by Wilfried Zaha and Patrick van Aanholt actually getting through the Claret wall, but neither troubled Heaton.

But with five minutes to go, Burnley grabbed a second to kill off the game. A long ball by Kelly was intercepted by George Boyd, and a fine outside-of-the-foot pass released substitute Gray and he raced forward before drilling the ball past Hennessey at the near post to claim their first away victory of the of the campaign at Palace’s expense.

Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Kelly, Delaney, Van Aanholt, Milivojevic, Puncheon, Zaha, McArthur (Campbell 71), Townsend, C. Benteke (Remy 71). Subs not used: Speroni, Schlupp, Flamini, Lee, Sako.

Burnley: Heaton, Ward (Flanagan 45), Keane, Trakowski, Lowton, Arfield, Westwood, Hendrick, Boyd, Vokes, Barnes (Gray 79). Subs not used: Pope, Long, Defour, Gudmunsson, Brady.

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