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Match Reports

Match Report : 31/01/2017

31 January 2017

Second half goals from Scott Dann and Christian Benteke earned Sam Allardyce his first league win as Palace boss as they beat Bournemouth 2-0 at the Vitality Stadium.

The Eagles were the better team throughout the game and picked up a deserved win, as well as a confidence-boosting clean sheet thanks to a dogged defensive display.

The turning point came a couple of minutes after the break when Dann poked home from close-range following a Jason Puncheon cross, with Benteke sealing the result in injury-time as he thumped home a free header to hand Allardyce his first taste of Premier League success.

Defender Patrick Van Aanholt made his Crystal Palace debut in the game at AFC Bournemouth and Wilfried Zaha returned to the starting eleven following his participation in the AFCON tournament. 

It was the winger who had the first chance of the evening on four minutes when he collected a pass from James McArthur, just outside the box, and his right foot shot struck the bottom of the post.

Just a few minutes later Palace were awarded a free kick inside the Bournemouth half and Benteke just failed to connect with Yohan Cabaye's free kick but the ball fell to James Tomkins in front of goal, the defender couldn't get a proper shot in on goal and the chance went over the bar. 

The home side had their first chance on the Palace goal just past the 20 minute mark when Joshua King picked up a loose ball as it ran across in front of the visitor's penalty box and his powerful shot went just wide of Wayne Hennessey's right hand post. 

They came closer still nine minutes before the break as King and Junior Stanislas combined well and King's effort went just inches wide courtesy of a deflection on the way to goal. 

It was soon Palace's turn to be the ones who were creating the danger as Zaha had his effort from inside the box pushed away by goalkeeper Artur Boruc as both sides pushed to break the deadlock. 

Three minutes before the break a corner from Jack Wilshere was met by Benik Afobe but the striker saw his header go well wide of the target. 

The half came to a close with both still on level terms and both sides looking back on chances that could have seen them holding the advantage at the interval. 

Palace got the perfect start to the second half when Damien Delaney flicked on Puncheon's cross and captain, Dann, was on hand from close range to drive the ball into the net past Boruc, 

Just moments later the visitors were through again courtesy of a fine run from Zaha and he played the ball out to Van Aanholt but he put his chance over the bar. 

The same player then was back down the left wing and the new signing found Benteke in the middle with his cross but his header was straight at Boruc.

The home side came close to getting back on level terms when Ryan Fraser's cross was met by King but his header went just over Hennessey's bar as Eddie Howe's looked for a way back in the game. 

Chances at both ends continued as Boruc could only watch as James McArthur's shot curled just wide of his post as Palace came close to extending their lead after the Scot got on the end of a poor clearance. 

On 67 minutes Fraser's free kick evaded everyone and fell at the back post but Francis couldn't get a proper connection on it and the ball was a simple collection for the goalkeeper as it rolled along the ground to him. 

The home side were finding it difficult to break the Palace defence down so Steve Cook took a shot from distance and came just inches from putting his side back on terms, the ball went past a diving Hennessey and then, thankfully for the visiting fans, past the post. 

The Welshman was then forced to make a crucial stop just as four additional minutes were indicated when he just managed to stop a Wilshere free-kick from creeping into the bottom corner, and that proved crucial as a minute later the victory was sealed.

Andros Townsend's fresh legs allowed him to speed past Simon Francis on the left and spot Benteke unmarked in the centre, and he bashed home a header that gave Boruc no chance and spark jubilant scenes in the away section and the Allardyce's dugout as a first league win in nine was clinched.

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