- Palace make two changes, Richards and Hughes starting for Guéhi and Lerma
- Tight opening sees few chances at Villa Park
- Johnstone denies Watkins when clean through
- Mateta introduced with Ayew injured after 25 minutes
- Diaby goal ruled out for offside following VAR review
- Cash misses two big chances before the break
- HT: Villa 0-0 Palace
- Mateta squares for Edouard to give Palace early second-half lead
- Ward nods wide from close range
- Mitchell and Hughes produce heroic blocks and Watkins hits post
- Martinez denies Eze lob at the other end
- Duran volleys Villa level on 87 minutes
- Watkins wins 97th-minute penalty, converted by Luiz
- Bailey scores Villa’s third on the counter-attack deep into injury-time
- FT: Villa 3-1 Palace
Palace had looked set for another eye-catching result this season when Odsonne Edouard’s composed finish put his team into the lead early in the second-half at Villa Park, but a crashing half-volley from Jhon Durán drew Villa level with three minutes remaining of the regulation 90.
An injury-time penalty from Douglas Luiz – awarded following a lengthy VAR review after Ollie Watkins was tackled by Chris Richards – and a late tap-in from Leon Bailey saw the score-line completely transformed in injury-time.
The conclusion to the match was harsh on Palace who, in challenging circumstances, deserved something for their improved second-half performance – but ultimately could not prevent the hosts from extending an impressive home record.
It was communicated ahead of kick-off that Roy Hodgson had been taken unwell earlier in the day, and was not at Villa Park for the game. The manager was in contact with Paddy McCarthy, who took the team assisted by Ray Lewington.
Hodgson had noted in his pre-match press conference that two Palace players had picked up injuries over the international break, with Marc Guéhi and Jefferson Lerma replaced by Chris Richards and Will Hughes – the Eagles’ first starting XI changes in the Premier League this season.
It was an opening quarter of few chances. Unai Emery’s Villa seemed content to enjoy the majority of possession in their own half, the first real opportunity only arriving after the 20-minute mark. Sam Johnstone did superbly to deny Watkins after the forward had raced onto a loose pass and ran clean through.
Just a fortnight after he had put Wolverhampton Wanderers to the sword, Jean-Philippe Mateta was called upon from the bench again when former Villa player Jordan Ayew was forced off with an injury after 25 minutes.
The hosts continued to dominate the ball, but Palace threatened on the break – albeit whilst absorbing waves of pressure over the remainder of the half.
And while Moussa Diaby’s low finish from a long ball forwards was rightly ruled out for offside by VAR, the hosts ought to have taken the lead before the break as Villa’s Matty Cash missed two gilt-edged chances from close range in quick succession.
As has proven the case so often this season, Palace’s display notably picked up after the break – and within two minutes of the restart, they took the lead.
Just as against Wolves, goalscorer Mateta turned provider for Edouard, driving past Pau Torres on the halfway line and squaring for his compatriot. Edouard looked up and, spotting Villa ‘keeper Emiliano Martinez slipping momentarily, placed a low effort past the Argentinian for his fifth goal in six games this season.
Seconds later, a powerful run from Edouard propelled the striker into the box but, as he shaped to shoot, this time he was denied by Ezri Konsa on the cover.
The match opened up into an end-to-end affair, both teams showing plenty of pace and intent on the break – as well as last-ditch defending at the other end.
It was Palace who had the next big opportunity. After Mateta’s clever movement won Palace a corner, Eze delivered to the back post, Joachim Andersen headed back across goal – and Joel Ward, unsighted but reacting sharply six yards out, couldn’t quite twist his body sharply enough to divert the ball between the posts.
The chances kept on flowing – but only a combination of outstanding defending and a touch of good fortune prevented Watkins from levelling the scores moments later.
Close-range blocks from Mitchell and Hughes denied the forward, before his curling effort led to a combination of the woodwork and the back of Johnstone’s head maintaining Palace's lead.
Eze kept on threatening at the other end, and after being picked out by Cheick Doucouré, his lobbed volley was denied by the back-pedalling Martinez.
Yet, with three minutes remaining, it was Villa who took the next big opportunity. Picked out by a cross-field pass, Lucas Digne dug out a cross which reached substitute Durán inside the box. In one sweeping motion, the attacker chested down and crashed in a half-volley to draw the hosts level.
Regardless, Palace looked full value for a hard-fought draw – but two injury-time twists were to condemn them to just a second defeat so far this season.
Watkins turned inside the box and was tackled on the slide by Richards, who made contact with the ball. After a lengthy review of the footage on the pitchside monitor, referee Darren England judged the challenge to be an illegal one, and up stepped Douglas Luiz to convert from the spot in the seventh minute of stoppage time.
Then, as Palace pressed for an equaliser and poured bodies forwards, a long ball forwards freed Diaby to square for Leon Bailey, who could scarcely miss from six yards out.
Palace: Johnstone (GK), Ward, Andersen, Richards, Mitchell, Hughes, Doucouré (Rak-Sakyi, 90+9), Ayew (Mateta, 25), Eze, Schlupp, Edouard (Ahamada, 90)
Subs: Henderson (GK), Matthews (GK); Holding, Clyne, Riedewald, Ebiowei
Aston Villa: Martinez (GK), Cash, Konsa, Torres, Digne, Kamara (Tielemans, 58), Luiz, McGinn (Durán, 71), Diaby, Zaniolo (Bailey, 57), Watkins (Dendoncker, 90+10)
Subs: Olsen (GK), Marschall (GK), Chambers, Lenglet, Moreno