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Match Reports

Report: Crystal Palace 2-0 Burnley

1 December 2018

Palace finally ended their long wait for a home win against Burnley, and they claimed the three points in style as goals from James McArthur and Andros Townsend secured an important win.

The result doesn’t quite tell the whole story after what was a dominant display by Roy Hodgson’s team, who allowed their opponents two attempts all game while peppering Joe Hart’s goal throughout, but they required Lady Luck to shine on them for the breakthrough when McArthur’s 16th minute cross found its way into the net.

It seemed only a matter of time until the second arrived but after numerous opportunities were squandered, it took until the 77th minute for Palace to secure their first win in nine thanks to a sensational long-range strike from Andros Townsend that ensured the home fans left Selhurst Park happy for the first time this season, and register their 100th win in the Premier League and 200th in the top-flight.

Buoyed by their great display last weekend at Old Trafford, Palace began brightly and attacked their opponents from the off. Just eight minutes had passed when Max Meyer whipped the ball towards the bottom corner and forced Joe Hart to make an excellent save, and Patrick van Aanholt drove straight at the Burnley shot-stopper from range soon after.

It was all Hodgson’s team in the opening exchanges and thus when the lead did come after 16 minutes, it was warranted even in the bizarre circumstances that saw it was netted. McArthur found Townsend with a throw-in who returned it to the Scotsman, and he sent a dangerous cross into the area that eluded Meyer and the surrounding defenders, clipped the far post and sneaked behind Hart into the net.

The one-way traffic continued throughout the first half and Meyer again came close to netting his first Eagles goal when he bent towards the opposite corner to his first attempt but was a whisker wide, and Van Aanholt and Luka Milivojevic saw a pair of thumping volleys deflected wide as the hosts couldn’t quite find the two-goal cushion they deserved for their first half efforts.

They came ever so close to getting it within 90 seconds of the restart when Wilfried Zaha received the ball on the edge of the area, tied Matthew Lowton in knots and fizzed a shot towards the target but Hart produced a fingertip save to divert it over, and then Zaha blazed over the top when fed by Townsend as all the action continued to be contained in the Burnley half.

The second half resembled an Eagles shooting practice at times but great chances continued to be wasted. Milivojevic looked set to score when he was picked out by a clever Van Aanholt pass but screwed well wide, Hart had to deal with another Zaha blast before McArthur acrobatically turned the rebound off target, and then the goalscorer seemed set to tap home a Van Aanholt cut-back but a fantastic last-ditch challenge by Charlie Taylor nudged the ball over.

And just to add to the anxiety in SE25, the woodwork was rattled when Zaha bent towards the top corner and beat Hart but the ball rattled off the bar, and landed for McArthur to head goalwards but the Clarets keeper recovered to make a comfortable catch.

But finally, finally Palace got a second with 13 minutes to go - and if the first was fortunate, there was no doubting the quality of the second. Cheikhou Kouyaté played a raking pass towards the left flank for Townsend to chase, and he cut inside and unleashed a rocket of a shot that whizzed straight past the despairing dive of Hart and allowed the relief to pour out of the home supporters.

Having only mustered a weak blocked shot all game, Burnley finally threatened Wayne Hennessey’s goal when Ashley Barnes poked over Sam Vokes’ knock-down, but the Eagles keeper remarkably wouldn’t have to dirty his gloves all game as Hodgson’s men cruised to a deserved win.

Palace: Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur (Schlupp 78), Kouyaté, Milivojevic, Meyer (Puncheon 90), Townsend (Sørloth 88), Zaha. Subs: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Ayew.

Burnley: Hart, Lowton, Long, Mee, Taylor, Lennon (Brady 45), Defour (Vokes 60), Cork, Gudmundsson, Hendrick, Wood (Barnes 80). Subs: Heaton, Bardsley, Tarkowski, Westwood.

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