Crystal Palace buried the ghosts of their recent record in east London this evening, pulling themselves from behind to win 2-1 over an in-form West Ham United.
- Gary Cahill captains the side with James McCarthy starting in place of the suspended Luka Milivojevic
- After an uneventful start, both sides unnerve the other but fail to break the deadlock
- Half time: 0-0
- West Ham take the lead through Sebastien Haller
- Palace pull it back through a Patrick van Aanholt penalty eight minutes later
- After seeing his goal disallowed, Jordan Ayew wins it for Palace with VAR awarding the effort upon review
- Full time: West Ham 1-2 Palace
Despite a gladiatorial build-up to kick-off and in stark contrast to its concluding drama, this evening’s game began at a steady pace with West Ham enjoying the lion’s share of possession.
Seemingly happy to soak-up the home side’s pressure in the opening 10 minutes, Crystal Palace emanated confidence from the off, appearing assured by their solid start to the season.
With calm, passing passages linking the back four, midfield and spearhead of Jordan Ayew, Palace looked comfortable in defence and composed in attack - with a succession of back heels cooly connecting Patrick van Aanholt and Jeffrey Schlupp.
The Eagles’ settled approach almost bore fruit having lulled the hosts into switching off, causing fans in London Stadium to collectively hold their breath when Joel Ward broke into the box on the end of a James McArthur loft across the field.
Beating Felipe Anderson to the byline, Ward - who today celebrates his 200th league appearance for Palace - poked a dangerous ball across the face of goal, however no one in white was alert enough to the sudden threat and the cross went unanswered.
After a nondescript opening half an hour where neither side enjoyed a clear-cut chance, the game burst into life with Andriy Yarmolenko overtaking Martin Kelly into the visitors’ box.
Squaring the ball, Yarmolenko seemed to have secured the Hammers’ opening goal, but the split-second reactions of Vicente Guaita forced Sebastien Haller’s point-blank shot from the goal line and kept the score level.
With momentum carrying them, West Ham went on the offensive against a dazed Palace side and only failed to take the lead due to a profligate Anderson.
The first chance the Brazilian squandered saw the ball spoon across the penalty area as Anderson struck from eight yards and then, barely a minute later, a relieved Guaita enveloped the ball from the No.8’s soft diving header.
After a nervy spell on the back foot, Palace regained their composure.
And so it was to the other end of the pitch, the Eagles back in the game’s driving seat - Wilfried Zaha the man at the wheel. Jinking his way to the byline, the Ivorian fooled the home defence to feed Schlupp masterfully.
Reacting in tight space and with little time, Schlupp could only thud the ball softly from his boot so, with it sailing towards the net, Ryan Fredericks had time to race back and launch the goal-bound effort to safety.
East London was to hold its breath again shortly after when Anderson sent a testing cross into Palace’s six-yard box. In an awkward position, Gary Cahill stretched and struck the ball away, however his half-clearance cannoned off the unaware Haller before ricocheting to safety off a similarly oblivious Guaita.
Closing out the evening’s first exchanges, James McCarthy tried his luck from distance with an outswinging drive being pushed away by Roberto, who had until then been inactive.
On Michael Oliver’s whistle, though, the game remained locked.
Returning for the second-half, West Ham wasted another chance to take the lead when the ball bounced off Ward’s thigh to Angelo Ogbonna in the box. Possibly the wrong man in the right place, the centre-back struck over from six yards out.
But the Hammers weren’t to miss another golden opportunity and eventually took the lead through Haller, who had looked troubling throughout the game.
With Yarmolenko feeding Fredericks on the right-wing, Haller had only to prod home from close range following the fullback’s cross and Palace found themselves a goal down.
But the Eagles wouldn’t be behind for long and when Declan Rice raised his arm in the box, Oliver was forced into awarding a penalty.
In the absence of captain, midfielder and designated penalty taker Luka Milivojevic, Palace instead relied upon Cahill, McCarthy and Van Aanholt, the latter of the three embodying Milivojevic’s precision from 12 yards and striking sweetly into the bottom left corner.
The Eagles deserved their renewed grip on the game and, with the copper smog of a flare settling around the stadium, the chilled east London evening heated up enticingly.
Late drama seemed inevitable and the tension of London Stadium built steadily. Fittingly, drama was only seconds away.
The Eagles may have thought they were low on luck minutes from full time when Ayew buried into the back of the net only for his effort to be disallowed.
But after a lengthy VAR review, the officials adjudged Ayew to have been onside and the visiting section of London Stadium erupted, their determined side having taken the lead.
With barely minutes on the clock, Guaita cushioned his gloves around a dying-seconds Haller effort and with the catch, Crystal Palace had pulled off a remarkable comeback.
West Ham: Roberto, Cresswell (Zabaleta 84), Ogbonna, Diop, Fredericks, Noble, Rice, Yarmolenko (Wilshere 78), Anderson, Lanzini (Fornals 68), Haller.
Subs not used: Martin, Balbuena, Snodgrass, Ajeti.
Palace: Guaita, Ward, Cahill, Kelly, Van Aanholt, Schlupp, McArthur, McCarthy (Townsend 81), Kouyate, Zaha, Ayew (Benteke 90).
Subs not used: Hennessey, Tomkins, Dann, Camarasa, Meyer.
Catch full post-match reaction for free on Palace TV! Head there by clicking here or 'Palace TV' in your app.