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Report: Dramatic Palace fightback denied by final whistle v West Ham

Crystal Palace
2
Édouard 83'
Olise 90'
3
West Ham United
Antonio 22'
Lanzini 25' 45+5'

Crystal Palace fought to pull their way from 3-0 down and secure a point against West Ham United on Saturday afternoon, having dominated much of an ultimately cruel game.

Summary

  • Patrick Vieira returns to the dugout and makes two changes to the starting XI: naming Luka Milivojevic and Christian Benteke in place of Cheikhou Kouyate and Jean-Philippe Mateta

  • Palace almost strike early when Jeffrey Schlupp hits the post one minute in to kick-start the first of several dominant spells

  • West Ham gain a foothold in the game and, after a sensational Vicente Guaita double-save, Michail Antonio finds a way through to take the lead

  • They make it two with an impressive Manuel Lanzini volley

  • Palace react well, as Odsonne Edouard hits the crossbar and Benteke forces a Lukasz Fabianski save at the near post

  • West Ham win a penalty after a VAR decision, which Lanzini converts moments before the break

  • Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-3 West Ham United

  • Palace return brightly and enjoy chances through Tyrick Mitchell and Edouard

  • The home side makes a pair of attacking substitutions, but still can’t unlock the visitors, who remain well-organised and tough to crack

  • Edouard pulls a deserved goal back just as chances become less regular and the game appears to move towards full-time without much drama

  • Michael Olise adds a second to tee-up a scintillating end

  • Jean-Philippe Mateta attempts to seal the fight-back with a sensational overhead kick, but it goes narrowly wide and the referee's whistle confirms defeat

  • Full-time: Crystal Palace 2-3 West Ham United

Crystal Palace have enjoyed rapidly taking the lead at Selhurst lately, and almost did so again this evening. Jeffrey Schlupp, looking to open another year’s goalscoring, tried to carry Odsonne Edouard’s mantle from the Norwich game, striking the post within a minute of kick-off.

The attack built along the left, from where Will Hughes whipped a ball across the face of goal which deflected off Craig Dawson to Jordan Ayew. The Ghanaian swiftly returned the ball to the centre of the box and into Schlupp's path, however the midfielder could only clip the woodwork with his first-time effort.

Minutes later the Eagles again sent the home crowd to their feet; this time Luka Milivojevic swung his free-kick a few inches wide of goal.

These chances were the clearest outcomes of a positive, purposeful start from Palace, with Schlupp also slicing high and Hughes continuing as he did in 2021 by keeping his markers on the back foot.

It didn’t take West Ham long to react, however, and soon the fifth-placed Hammers returned fire. Left-back Ben Johnson strode high up the wing and drove a cross deep into the box, where Vladimir Coufal kept the ball in play with an outstretched boot.

Michail Antonio, searching for his eighth this season, struck goal-bound from close range only for Vicente Guaita to block expertly. The ball remained in play, and Antonio remained sharp in a good position. Guaita beat his adversary to the follow-up chance, leaping upwards to turn the danger away athletically, and then forced Said Benrahma’s resulting header to safety.

The Spaniard was unable to keep out the visitors for a fourth time, however, and when Benrahma sent in a teasing cross, Antonio broke through the Palace ranks to toe home from close range.

This opener capped 23 minutes in which both sides enjoyed equally promising spells, but was enough to fuel the momentum pushing West Ham onwards, and it wasn’t long before they struck again.

Declan Rice carried the ball through the middle of the park before playing a bobbling pass to Manuel Lanzini. The Argentine kept it under control with a series of keep-ups before volleying past Guaita from 15 yards out.

Palace reacted with trademark resolve to regain their grip on the game after half an hour. Ayew had the ball on the right of the box and selflessly squared it to Edouard who, as Schlupp had done before, thwacked the woodwork with a first-time effort from the centre of the box; this time hitting the underside of the crossbar.

As Patrick Vieira’s side increased the pressure Christian Benteke enjoyed two further chances, the first forcing Lukasz Fabianski into action at his near post and the second just gliding out of reach 12 yards from goal.

The Belgian tested his opposite number again a while later when Joel Ward swung a cross behind him; Benteke moved his feet fast enough to land a powerful half-volley on goal, however Fabianski stood firmly behind it to get both gloves around the ball.

But for all Palace’s dominance, as had been the case all half, West Ham were able to further their lead once more – this time with a stroke of fortune guiding them onwards.

Moments before the half-time whistle sounded, Milivojevic was adjudged to have handled the box just inside the box after a lengthy VAR review. The decision meant Lanzini was able to claim a second in the 49th-minute, taking West Ham to the break with a staggering three-goal lead.

Returning for the second-half Palace knew they had to overturn not only a three-goal deficit, but an imbalance in fortune, too.

They approached this dual challenge as they had before the break: with regular, testing attacks. The first came through an unlikely source as Tyrick Mitchell saw his shot deflected over before a more fitting figure – Edouard – also fired high.

The best chance of the half – if not the game – then came after 55 minutes. Ayew charged down the right-wing before cutting the ball across the box – it slid between the defence and ‘keeper to Edouard who, having got himself into an advantageous spot, could only strike wide.

The hosts again had the passes, pressure and possibilities to start fighting back; all they lacked was the prosperity, a frustration Vieira has expressed before.

And so a change was needed, and came boldly on the hour-mark: Jean-Philippe Mateta for Milivojevic; 4-3-3 for a near-4-2-4.

Palace demonstrated the intent of this switch within seconds of making it as Mateta headed downwards at Fabianski. The resulting effort wasn’t strong enough to trouble the Polish shot stopper, but made clear the south Londoners’ approach. Michael Olise taking to the turf shortly after gave a similarly unsubtle indication of the home side’s desire.

After 70 minutes however chances began to peter out for Palace as their well-drilled guests continued to keep a solid backline.

When opportunities did open up they were less fierce than they had been before: the ball was either confidently cleared, deflected far from goal or simply stamped out by a firm block in light blue.

But Palace didn’t relent in their pursuit of a way through, and eventually found the net after 82 hard-fought minutes, with the opening coming from an unsurprising source: the wings.

Substitute Olise found space on the right and swung in a smart cross close to goal where Edouard, arriving late, flung himself forward to turn the ball home from yards out; handing Palace the lifeline they’d worked for relentlessly.

The next few minutes were crucial for both sides: Palace had to add a second and West Ham had to resettle. In the end, Palace's mission presided, and the home side pulled themselves one step from a famous fightback in the 91st-minute.

Olise was again involved as he launched home a free-kick conceded by Issa Diop from 25 yards; his otherwise speculative effort sailing over a sea of heads and past Fabianski.

Two rotations remained on the clock as Palace sought to finish the task that began in the 22nd-minute: add one goal, and secure a deserved point.

Unfortunately however this potential late, great comeback was denied when an eye-catching Mateta overhead-kick flew just past the post and, shortly after, the final whistle sounded.

A harsh defeat confirmed just Palace's second home loss of the season, and it certainly wasn't for the want of trying.

Palace: Guaita, Mitchell, Guéhi, Andersen, Ward, Milivojevic (Mateta 60), Hughes (Riedewald 75), Schlupp, Ayew, Benteke (Olise 68), Edouard.

Subs not used: Butland, Matthews, Tomkins, Kelly, Eze.

West Ham: Fabianski, Johnson (Masuaku 45), Diop, Dawson, Coufal, Soucek, Rice, Benrahma (Vlasic 71), Lanzini (Noble 88), Bowen, Antonio.

Subs not used: Areola, Yarmolenko, Fredericks, Král, Oko-Flex, Alese.