Tyrick Mitchell scored his first Crystal Palace goal in a gripping victory over Aston Villa in which the Eagles pinned their guests back in an impressive second-half comeback.
- Roy Hodgson makes five changes to the side which faced Southampton, including handing Jack Butland his first Premier League match in a Palace shirt
- Both teams enjoy early chances, with Palace coming close through a Christian Benteke header and Villa knocking wide through Jacob Ramsey and Kortney Hause
- John McGinn hands Villa the lead with a well-placed shot that bounces in off the post
- The Eagles respond with close efforts from Jeffrey Schlupp and Andros Townsend, and soon pull level through a towering Benteke header
- Villa regain the lead moments later through Anwar El Ghazi
- Half-time: Crystal Palace 1-2 Aston Villa
- The second-half begins brightly, with the hosts on top
- Palace attack persistently and almost pull level as Benteke clips the crossbar
- The south Londoners sustain their dominance and equalise through a thunderous Wilfried Zaha strike
- Eberechi Eze hits the crossbar with an eye-catching 25-yard strike
- Tyrick Mitchell chests home from six yards with just minutes remaining
- Full-time: Crystal Palace 3-2 Aston Villa
While it was far from presented on a silver platter, Aston Villa began with the brightest chance as Ollie Watkins worked his way along the left-wing. Looking up, the No.11 found Jacob Ramsey on the edge of the box, who chose to strike first time at goal only for his softly-struck effort to pass wide of the post.
Palace responded soon after, with Christian Benteke threatening another early goal as he headed Andros Townsend’s cross over the bar before Kortney Hause managed similar at the other end; knocking the ball wide from 12 yards.
Both of the visitors’ earliest chances required no intervention by their hosts, but Butland showed his worth with a reflex save when Watkins fired an effort goal-bound from wide in the box. The Palace ‘keeper tipped his compatriot’s shot high to safety after the Villans capitalised on a loose ball in the box, which span into their path with fortune.
They required less luck minutes later, however, when John McGinn’s side-footed shot bounced into goal off the post after the visiting captain delicately netted the opener from the edge of the box.
Going behind sparked an offensive reaction from Palace and Jeffrey Schlupp soon forced Emiliano Martinez into action before Gary Cahill volleyed high. Later, Townsend bent a free-kick that looked destined to creep in at the near post, but Martinez moved his feet quickly and palmed the ball to safety.
The Argentine had no hope in the 31st-minute, however, when Palace’s increased pressure yielded a result. Doggedly fighting for possession on the edge of Villa’s box, the ball broke to Tyrick Mitchell, who lofted a smart cross towards the near post, where Benteke towered high and headed back across goal into the far corner.
Palace’s joy at pulling level would not last long. Villa looked sharp all half and their attacking intent appeared reignited at conceding; Anwar El Ghazi striking hard from 20 yards to find the net and restore the status quo. The Eagles would again have to fight back.
And fight they did. Zaha whipped an effort goal-bound which Martinez held, saw another shot deflected at close-range and Cahill was then flagged offside after a lunging goal-mouth poke.
Half-time came too soon for another equaliser, though, meaning Palace had just the second-half remaining to find a deserved point or more.
The second-half began in similar fashion to the first, with both sides looking bright – but this time Palace looked the brightest. The Eagles enjoyed a large share of the ball and spent swathes of time with it deep inside Villa’s half.
Benteke saw the ball squirm free just yards from goal but couldn’t capitalise, a Schlupp cross deflected into Martinez’s gloves and a square Zaha pass flashed across the face of goal only to run out of play.
Shortly before the hour mark, Townsend forced a tantalising cross which Benteke stretched towards but could not meet and then, from the resulting corner, the Belgian powered a header onto the underside of the crossbar via the slightest of touches from Martinez.
The visitors had been sent a clear and prolonged warning, and sought to earn an insurance policy third when El Ghazi hit Butland’s legs with a well-disguised free-kick.
Palace’s pressure continued to increase as they forced Villa backs closer to the wall: Eze fizzed an effort wide via a deflection and Cheikhou Kouyate headed a Townsend cross into danger – all while the visitors packed their box.
The two managers made a pair of changes within eight minutes of one another to re-shape the game’s dynamics: Villa playing their trump card by handing Jack Grealish his return from injury and Hodgson changing his hand by moving Kouyate forward with James Tomkins stepping-in to defence.
Be it the change or Palace’s drive - they were soon back in the game. Cahill won the ball deep in his own half and fed Eberechi Eze to inspire a swift attack. Launching play forward, Eze played Zaha into space on the left flank. The Ivorian kept his head down, cut inside onto his right and cannoned an effort home hard off Ahmed Elmohamady.
The goal had seemed certain for some time, but whether a winner could be found became the pressing question for both sides.
As they had all half, Palace seemed the team closest to meeting that aim and Eze threatened to achieve it when his 25-yard effort thwacked the crossbar in the 82nd-minute.
Eze may have been expected to find the winning goal, but ultimately it came from a more surprising source. Building on his first professional assist earlier in the game, Tyrick Mitchell proved the man to clinch his side the points as he popped up in the box and chested home from six yards after a bouncing Eze shot unsettled the Villa defence.
This chance goal proved enough for Palace as Roy Hodgson's men saw out the final few minutes and likely their last home game without fans to secure an entertaining victory in SE25.
Palace: Butland, Mitchell, Cahill, Kouyate, Ward, Schlupp, McCarthy (Tomkins 73), Eze, Townsend, Zaha, Benteke.
Subs not used: Hennessey, Guaita, Dann, Kelly, Riedewald, Ayew, Mateta, Batshuayi.
Villa: Martínez, Konsa, Targett, Hause, Luiz, McGinn, Ramsey (Davis 86), El Ghazi (Wesley 88), El Mohamady, Traore (Grealish 64), Watkins.
Subs not used: Steer, Taylor, Nakamba, Barkley, Engels, Chukwuemeka.