Cherries Schlupp up to give 10-man Eagles all three points in 1-0 win at Selhurst Park
CRYSTAL PALACE 1 BOURNEMOUTH 0
A marvellous strike by Jeffery Schlupp was sufficient to earn all three points for ten-man Crystal Palace in their mid-table encounter against Bournemouth at Selhurst Park.
The Ghanaian outstripped the visitors’ defence to spear home in the 76th minute, just when it appeared that this was to be chalked down as a rather forgettable evening in south London.
Recalled defender Mamadou Sakhou was ordered off early on for a dismal-looking tackle on Adam Smith, which essentially made the Eagles’ eventual success all the more impressive for their diligence and overall patience. It was a game also blemished by needling from both sides.
The Cherries, on the other hand, had the look of a side who came for a draw, despite a more positive second half. Palace keeper Vicente Guaita pulled off a smart save to deny Jefferson Lerma late on. However, this is certainly an outcome worthy of substantial relief for Roy Hodgson, the Crystal Palace manager.
Saturday’s impressive 2-0 victory at Burnley arrested a five game winless run for the Eagles, although despite a crazy encounter the last time they entertained the Cherries, at the end of last season, it seemed unlikely the home crowd were in for another 5-3 treat. Considering Palace had only managed a dozen goals in seven league games at Selhurst Park so far this term, the portents were not good. A single goal separating the teams was ultimately fairly predictable.
The eleventh-placed hosts, just two points ahead of Bournemouth going into the game, were forced to reconvene the Sakho-James Tomkins central defensive partnership due to injury-hit Scott Dann and Gary Cahill. Nevertheless, Hodgson noted pre-match that he had every faith in the experienced duo. As it turned out, this was a theory which will certainly be put to the test for the Eagles chief, following Sakho’s 20th minute ordering off; a moment of sheer, bizarre recklessness.
It was something of a stodgy early spell, albeit Palace had the bulk of the possession, Patrick van Aanholt and Wilfried Zaha linking up well on the left in an effort to create openings. Cheikou Kouate, meanwhile, was dominating proceedings in the middle, pressing the Cherries.
Then in came Sakho, a knee-high, touchline jolt on Adam Smith, which left the Bournemouth full-back in an agonising sprawl. While Palace will dutifully query the decision by referee Anthony Taylor, there really was no need for VAR on this occasion. It was, frankly, awful.
For the remainder of the first half, Bournemouth were, surprisingly, content to sit back and absorb the pressure from ten-man Palace and appeared to lack the kind of counter-attacking pace that would trouble Hodgson’s men. As such, unsurprisingly, neither Guaita or Aaron Ramsdale, the respective keepers, were properly troubled, with Smith the ongoing target of the Selhurst Park supporters’ ire.
Hodgson sent on James McCarthy for Andros Townsend at half time in an attempt to infuse some required, additional craft.
Jordan Ayew went close enough with a six yard header from a Luka Milivojevic corner but, again, there was a listlessness from Palace, even accounting for being a man down. Eddie Howe’s side were organised enough to nullify much of the creativity of Zaha – Dominic Solanke taking a caution for his efforts - before the manager opted to send on Ryan Fraser and Simon Francis for Diego Rico and Amaut Groeneveld. The pace of Scotland winger Fraser was, presumably, a potential weapon to hurt the Eagles in the latter stages.
Zaha was always on the periphery of causing something, without demonstrably hurting the south coast visitors. And the wingers’ frustration was evident when he did well to carve out a low cross on the left side of Bournemouth’s penalty area, but there were no takers. The half heartedness of the move summed up much of the affair.
Bournemouth’s vigilance was tested, however, with Zaha’s intent. And the Palace pin up had a legitimate claim for a penalty when he appeared to be bundled over by Chris Mepham, having darted solo into the area.
Just as it seemed the encounter would drift, the Eagles went ahead – and a superb strike it was by Schlupp. The versatile operator, fastening on to a James McArthur pass, drilled home from an angle at searing pace with fourteen minutes remaining. How it lifted the mood of the home crowd, mindful of their team spending a large tract with ten men.
Ramsdale made a terrific stop from a speculative McArthur shot from distance as Palace aimed for a second. It wasn’t to be – but they did enough throughout a testy clash.
Crystal Palace: Guaita, Van Aanholt (Schlupp 29), Kelly, Milivojevic, Tomkins, Sakho, Kouyate, McArthur, Townsend (McCarthy 45), Ayew, Zaha