- Palace unchanged for fourth consecutive Premier League game
- New ‘keeper Dean Henderson among the substitutes
- Eze has penalty turned down following VAR review
- Ayew’s close-range effort cleared off the line by Kilman
- Palace on top and threaten from set-pieces
- Solid blocks from Guéhi and Andersen repel Wolves attackers
- Edouard and Neto denied by Sa and Johnstone at the near post
- HT: Palace 0-0 Wolves
- Edouard nips in to put Palace in the lead
- Hwang’s glancing header restores parity moments later
- Palace go on the attack as Mateta introduced from the bench
- Sa keeps out Ayew’s low volley
- Eze prods home to restore lead from clever Mateta flick
- Edouard and Mateta link up superbly to seal the three points
- Cunha heads home cross deep into injury time
- FT: Palace 3-2 Wolves
Manager Roy Hodgson noted in his pre-match press conference that he was encouraged by Palace’s form over their last six games – and duly named an unchanged starting line-up for a fourth Premier League game in a row.
New goalkeeper Dean Henderson, signed only two days prior, was given time to settle in, taking his place among the substitutes, whilst fellow new arrival Rob Holding was signed past the deadline to participate in the fixture.
Temperatures in the high 20s seeing off the summer months at Selhurst Park reflected a bright start by both teams at Selhurst Park, Gary O’Neil’s well-organised Wolves side getting into some promising positions early on with attacks orchestrated by Matheus Cunha.
But Palace’s own specialist dribbler Ebere Eze took command after the opening minutes and could have had a penalty a quarter-of-an-hour in. The No. 10 slalomed past three challenges and appeared to be brought down inside the box by João Gomes – but the Wolves man survived a VAR review and no penalty was given.
Moments later, Wolves were nearly architects of their own downfall, a weak pass out from the back from goalkeeper Jose Sa allowing Jefferson Lerma the chance to nip in and intercept inside the box.
With the ball holding up, Lerma squared for Jordan Ayew, who reacted instinctively to turn the ball goalwards – only to find Maximilian Kilman well-placed on the line to turn it away, before Odsonne Edouard volleyed the rebound over.
It was the clearest opportunity of a keenly-fought but fairly unproductive first-half, Palace winning a succession of set-pieces from which Eze and Joachim Andersen both called Sa to produce fairly routine stops.
Slick passing moves and lay-offs inside the box did present Wolves with two chances of their own late in the half, but Marc Guéhi and Andersen threw themselves in front of efforts from Cunha and Pedro Neto respectively.
It wasn’t until the final knockings of the first-half either side had a shot classed as on target, Edouard denied from a tight angle and Sam Johnstone tipping over a deflected Pedro Neto effort at the near post.
A scrappy start to the second-half saw further yellow cards exchanged, but when the breakthrough did arrive, it was at the end of a free-flowing move for Palace.
Cheick Doucouré was the man to start it from a deep position, exchanging passes with Eze and slipping in Tyrick Mitchell with an incisive pass. The first-time cross towards the near post was superb, only requiring Edouard to get there first – and so he did – to turn the ball home for his third goal of the season.
Despite the goal turning up the noise even further inside Selhurst Park, the lead lasted just nine minutes. Palace will be frustrated with the space afforded to Hwang Hee-chan – on the pitch for a matter of moments – to get across the near post and flick Pedro Neto’s free-kick into the far corner with his shoulder.
On came midweek star Jean-Philippe Mateta – scorer of Palace’s first hat-trick in almost eight years at Plymouth Argyle – as the Eagles went in search of a winner.
But it was Ayew who enjoyed the next clear opportunity, winning the ball from a misplaced touch by Aït-Nouri and watching the bouncing ball onto his foot; with not much of the goal to aim for, his low, laced volley proved too close to Sa to beat the ‘stopper.
The Eagles were doubtless the side in the ascendancy, and deservedly retook the lead 12 minutes from time; a clipped ball forward from Ward was cleverly flicked into Eze’s path by Mateta’s backwards header, and Eze – alive to it – pushed the ball into the path of his run before prodding beneath the onrushing Sa.
If that was good, Edouard’s second of the game moments later was even better, the product of some remarkable approach play from Palace.
Once again, it was Mateta’s backheel which set up the forward’s shooting opportunity, as the No. 22 drove into the box, sat Kilman down with a feinted finish, and duly drilled a low finish into the bottom-left corner with Sa merely a spectator at that point.
With Palace continuing to produce some excellent approach play, there was still time for a near-post effort from Eze to be turned behind deep into injury time, before Cunha pulled one back for Wolves with a planted header from Sarabia’s ball in.
But it was virtually the last action of the game. Sun beaming down, superb football being played, the beats of the Holmesdale Road drums roaring out from Selhurst Park across all of London – a Sunday to savour, as Palace moved up to seventh in the Premier League table after four games.
Palace: Johnstone (GK), Ward, Andersen, Guéhi, Mitchell, Lerma, Doucouré, Ayew, Eze, Schlupp (Mateta, 71), Edouard (Hughes, 90)
Subs: Henderson (GK); Tomkins, Richards, Clyne, Riedewald, Ahamada, Rak-Sakyi
Wolves: Sa (GK), Semedo, Dawson, Kilman, Aït-Nouri (Bueno, 81), Lemina, Gomes (Kalajdzic, 81), Neto, Cunha, Sarabia (Hwang, 60), Silva (Traoré, 73)
Subs: Bentley (GK), Doherty, Toti, Gonzalez, Fraser