Wickham’s eighth-minute opener set the tone for a memorable afternoon for the Eagles as the striker netted his first goal in over two years, and that was followed by Andros Townsend converted from the penalty spot against the team he began his career at.
Spurs then missed a great chance to get back in contention when Kieran Trippier missed a spot-kick of his own just before half-time, and that allowed Roy Hodgson’s team to confidently see out the rest of the game against a toothless Tottenham and move a step closer to Wembley.
Wickham was handed his first start for 26 months but it took him just eight minutes to end over two years of frustration by returning to the scoresheet. Jeffrey Schlupp burst into the box and got around Davinson Sanchez to shoot goalwards, and after Paulo Gazzaniga parried the effort away, Wickham nudged the ball over the line from a few yards out and allow the pent-up emotion to pour out of him.
That saw a pulsating first 45 begin to bubble and Lucas Moura whizzed a shot just over the Holmesdale goal before Patrick van Aanholt saw a clean hit from 30 yards head straight to Gazzaniga, but on 34 minutes the Eagles were literally handed a golden chance to take a huge step into round five.
Wilfried Zaha whipped in a dangerous cross and under pressure from Wickham Kyle Walker-Peters knocked the ball away from the striker with his arm; an incident so blatant that VAR wasn’t required to back up Kevin Friend’s penalty decision, and with no Luka Milivojevic on the field Townsend took up the spot-kick duties and whacked the ball past Gazzagina.
Having netted against his former club, two minutes later Townsend had a huge opportunity to do so again when Van Aanholt pushed on down the left and unselfishly cut the ball back to the winger but this time the Spurs keeper was equal to the attempt to keep his team in the game, and indeed the cup.
But to progress Spurs now had to score twice and they spent the rest of the half squandering opportunities. Four minutes before the break Palace lost concentration at a set-piece and a cute free-kick routine seemed certain to allow an undetected George-Kevin Nkoudou to slide the ball home, but Julian Speroni made a superb double save, stopping the initial effort at point-blank range before scrambling back to his feet and blocking the Frenchman’s follow-up.
An incredible first half then had a final twist on 43 minutes when Spurs earned themselves a penalty when Van Aanholt clumsily challenged Juan Foyth to allow Trippier his own opportunity to convert from 12 yards, however he screwed the spot-kick well wide of the target as the hosts escaped down the tunnel with their two-goal intact.
Another excellent Speroni stop was required once play continued as he showed good reactions to tip a deflected Fernando Llorente shot away from the bottom corner, but as the second half rolled on Palace were more than content to soak up the visitors’ pressure and put plenty of men behind the ball which Spurs couldn’t find a way through Hodgson’s well-organised side.
In fact it was Palace who came the closest to scoring the game’s third goal when six minutes before the end a counter-attack ended with Gazzaniga saving a low Zaha shot, and as the Palace defence held firm Speroni broke the club’s all-time clean sheet record with his 112th shoutout, overtaking Nigel Martyn in the process to complete a perfect day for the Eagles.
Palace: Speroni, Ward, Dann, Kelly, Van Aanholt, Meyer (Milivojevic 79), Kouyaté, Schlupp, Townsend (Ayew 88), Zaha, Wickham (Benteke 70). Subs not used: Tupper, Wan-Bissaka, Sakho, Riedewald.
Tottenham: Gazzaniga, Foyth, Vertonghen (Lamela 45), Sanchez, Trippier, Dier (Wanyama 62), Skipp, Walker-Peters, Moura (Sterling 81), Nkoudou, Llorente. Subs not used: Lloris, Rose, Aurier, Winks.