Palace booked their place in the fourth round of the Carabao Cup thanks to two excellent strikes from Andros Townsend and a Patrick van Aanholt goal ended West Bromwich Albion’s interest in the competition.
Townsend netted superbly early on to put Roy Hodgson’s team in firm control but despite creating many opportunities, they had to be patient for more goals to come, but towards the end of the second 45 they did with Van Aanholt getting on the scoresheet and man-of-match Townsend completing his brace to cap an impressive display for the Eagles.
The encounter was just six minutes old when Townsend netted another memorable goal at The Hawthorns to sit alongside his solo strike back in the 2016/17 campaign. Alexander Sørloth showed some good hold-up play before finding the winger inside his own half, and after a lengthy dribble he cut inside and powerfully whipped the ball into the top corner from 25 yards, leaving Boaz Myhill grasping thin air.
Albion came back with an attempt from a similar range three minutes later but James Morrison’s volley arced wide, however every time they entered the final third Palace looked threatening and after a wicked delivery by Townsend was narrowly missed the jumping Jeffrey Schlupp, Van Aanholt shot straight at Myhill.
Even the setback of seeing Jairo Riedewald forced off with a muscle injury couldn’t halt the Eagles in the opening half and Ahmed Hegazi produced the first of two crucial goaline clearances after Schlupp nicked the ball between Myhill’s legs, before Sørloth saw a couple of headers go begging.
Despite the one-way traffic, the one-goal lead was a fragile one and five minutes before the break Vicente Guaita had to pull off a smart acrobatic save to deny Morrison after he was found in space in the box by Wes Hoolahan during a rare moment of danger for Hodgson’s team, who nearly grabbed the crucial second when Townsend found himself onside following a deflected shot and chipped Myhill, but once again Hegazi was well-positioned.
The game looked to be continuing in the same vein after the restart as within five minutes Schlupp’s run was picked out by Sørloth but Myhill made his best save, but slowly the hosts began to cause a little more problems themselves and substitute Kyle Howkins forced Guaita into a routine save on 66 minutes.
However 10 minutes later, the Eagles secured their place in round four when they finally added a second. A good run forward by makeshift centre-back Joel Ward allowed him to play a pass into the area which was only partially cut out by Kyle Edwards, and Van Aanholt pounced to blast home from the edge of the area.
With Albion’s hopes of progressing into the fourth round disappearing, Palace ended them completely on 81 minutes with Townsend the beneficiary again. Schlupp held the ball up in the box before laying it off to Aaron Wan-Bissaka, and he nudged it onto Townsend who weaved past two defenders before crashing in a shot off the upright.
The margin could have been even larger had Max Meyer and Jordan Ayew not been denied late on by the Albion keeper, but Hodgson would have been more than happy with his return to his old stomping ground.
West Brom: Myhill, Mears (Edwards 63), Adarabioyo, Hegazi (Howkins 63), Field, Barry (Brunt 63), Harper, Townsend, Hoolahan, Morrison, Robson-Kanu. Subs: Bond, Burke, Leko, Gayle.
Palace: Guaita, Ward, Kelly, Riedewald (Wan-Bissaka 21), Van Aanholt (Souare 80), Puncheon, Meyer, Kouyaté, Townsend (Ayew 85), Schlupp, Sørloth. Subs: Speroni, Woods, Williams, Kaikai.