BY SAM SMITH
Wilfried Zaha scored an early goal but Crystal Palace suffered a disappointing 3-2 defeat at home against West Ham United.
The South Londoners are now without a win in four matches. Their 2-0 victory over Sheffield United at the start of January is their single success in their last 10 games.
Zaha exchanged passed with Eberechi Eze and Christian Benteke before stroking the ball into the corner of the goal. It had taken just three minutes for the Eagles to open the scoring, but the following 87 minutes were disastrous for Roy Hodgson’s side.
Tomas Soucek equalised five minutes later. Dreadful defending was a common theme for each of the Hammers’ goals.
Pablo Fornals passed into the left-hand channel for Michail Antonio to chase. The forward managed to scoop his cross to Soucek who nodded in from inside the six-yard box.
And the Czech turned the scoreline around on 25 minutes. Aaron Cresswell’s floated free-kick found the midfielder, who Palace unforgivably allowed to take a touch and squeeze an effort into Vicente Guaita’s near post.
It could have been even worse for the Eagles within 30 seconds of the restart. Cheikhou Kouyate’s sloppy sideways pass put Antonio through on goal, but the South Londoner struck the foot of the post.
Antonio, a former Tooting and Mitcham player, struck the same upright soon after. This game could easily have been 4-1 before half-time.
Craig Dawson added a third just after the hour – running unmarked and guiding a corner past Guaita. Antonio somehow missed a third excellent chance soon after, before Palace finally kicked into gear.
Zaha and McArthur went close with long-range efforts, but it was substitute Michy Batshuayi who scored a late consolation. The Belgian collected a pass in the penalty area, held off his marker and finished clinically beyond Lukasz Fabianski.
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