Wilfried Zaha bounced back from last week’s disappointment to net an equalising goal and snatch a deserved point for his team as they drew 1-1 with West Ham United.
The Hammers looked the more dangerous in the first half but needed a Mark Noble penalty to get themselves in front, but after the break the momentum switched and after a sustained period of pressure, Palace drew level with 13 minutes to go when Wilfried Zaha saw a shot deflect into the net, helping to redeem himself following his red card against Southampton.
That was the least that his side deserved from the game as Roy Hodgson’s team spurned some great opportunities to score, including one for James McArthur that looked easier to score than miss.
While the Eagles began brightly in terms of possession and territory, the majority of the game’s early chances fell to the Hammers beginning when Michail Antonio slipped in Ryan Fredricks whose snapshot forced Vicente Guaita into a save, and soon after the Spaniard had to make a similar stop to deny Robert Snodgrass scoring his third goal in his last three games against the Eagles.
But in keeping with the end-to-end nature of the opening half, back came Palace and after weaving through midfield to find Zaha on the left, a neat disguised pass handed James McArthur a sight of goal but Lukasz Fabianski got a hand to the effort, leading to an Irons counter-attack ended by brave diving block by Mamadou Sakho to stop Javier Hernandez’s goalbound attempt.
But on 26 minutes the visitors’ pressure paid off. A deflected free-kick fell to Declan Rice who clipped a ball over the defensive line for Antonio, who nicked the ball away from the charging Guaita and was sent sprawling to the turf by the Eagles custodian, allowing Noble to step up and calmly slot the ball down the middle from the spot.
Hodgson’s team nearly found an immediate response when Andros Townsend found Christian Benteke in space and onside and he smacked a fierce drive goalwards which Fabianski did well to push to safety, but apart from when Zaha screwed a shot into the Whitehorse Lane End the rest of the half petered out as the home side struggled to create any further chances.
However the second half was only seven minutes old when a huge opportunity came their way. Patrick van Aanholt played a neat pass that saw three Eagles onside and just Fabianski to beat, and with the ball at his feet and the freedom of Selhurst McArthur did all the hard work to sit the keeper down could simply slot the ball into the far corner, but instead dragged a shot wide as he aimed for the opposite side.
Despite that huge miss, the Eagles were much more positive in the second 45 and Van Aanholt saw a volley from 25 yards whistle over the crossbar just before the hour-mark, but midway through the half another glorious chance fell Palace’s way when once again Van Aanholt pulled the strings to pick out substitute Michy Batshuayi but he dragged his first-time chance wide of the near post, when once again the far corner was much more inviting.
But on 77 minutes the breakthrough finally arrived for Hodgson’s team when Zaha picked up possession on the edge of the area and managed to squeeze a pass through to McArthur who returned it to the Ivorian international, and he saw his shot deflect off Isa Diop and creep past Fabianski to score in back-to-back appearances.
The winger then almost doubled his tally for the afternoon when he linked up with Max Meyer and aimed for the bottom corner but once again Fabianski produced an excellent save to keep his team level, and ultimately it would be his safe hands and some wayward Palace shooting that saw the teams handed a point apiece.
Palace: Guaita, Wan-Bissaka, Kelly, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Townsend, Milivojevic, Schlupp, McArthur (Meyer 79), Zaha, Benteke (Batshuayi 61). Subs not used: Hennessey, Ward, Dann, Sako, Ayew.
West Ham: Fabianski, Fredricks (Zabaleta 84), Diop, Ogbonna, Cresswell, Antonio (Obiang 73), Rice, Noble, Snodgrass, Anderson, Hernandez (Arnautovic 68). Subs not used: Adrian, Masuaku, Diagana, Carroll.