BY MATT WOOSNAM
Two stunning goals put Crystal Palace to the sword as West Ham piled further misery on a side with just a single victory in their last 10 Premier League matches.
Palace had taken the lead through James McArthur, who poked in early on and they went into the break a goal to the good. But the Hammers came out in determined fashion for the second period.
Robert Snodgrass curled a sumptuous effort into the top corner from 20 yards shortly after the restart, with the Eagles failing to clear their lines or close him down adequately. Felipe Anderson’s superb free-kick was parried by Wayne Hennessey into the path of Javier Hernandez who made no mistake from close range. Anderson then added a third with a spectacular curling effort from the edge of the box.
Palace had been a little fortunate not to fall behind after just four minutes when Hernandez was slipped in behind the defence from a clever ball only for Hennessey to save well with his feet.
However, they went ahead themselves just a minute later thanks to some woeful defending, after James Tomkins flicked on a header from Patrick van Aanholt’s free-kick and McArthur was unmarked to prod past Lukas Fabianksi.
West Ham began to take the game to the Eagles, and Lucas Perez almost equalised with 20 minutes played when he struck a sweet shot on the volley, only to see it go narrowly wide of Hennessey’s goal.
Declan Rice headed over from a corner with 10 minutes remaining before half-time as the Hammers looked to reach level terms. The opening half had largely seen the hosts dominate possession and look dangerous on the counter-attack, but their lack of quality in the final third told as they struggled to turn possession into meaningful chances.
Palace defended competently until the equaliser, but found themselves losing the midfield battle every time they went forward. Roy Hodgson’s plan could not have been more obvious; sit back on the lead and try to pick their opponents off on the break. It failed.
The visitors came within inches of doubling their lead in first-half stoppage time when Luka Milivojevic curled a superb free-kick against the crossbar.
Those few inches made all the difference as Robert Snodgrass fired in a brilliant effort to draw his side level just three minutes into the second half.
The game exploded into life as the hosts sought to capitalise on their momentum, but again they failed to convert pressure into chances. It was Palace who came closest to scoring. Milivojevic’s shot was blocked and floundered in the air, only to fall to McArthur who squared for Max Meyer but the German was denied by Fabianski.
But, as has been the story of Palace’s season, they conceded twice more. Firstly, Hennessey parried a free-kick into the path of Hernandez who made no mistake on 62 minutes, before Anderson curled a stunner past the Welshman three minutes later.
An eventful game took another turn when Jeffrey Schlupp headed in Meyer’s cross but the hosts held on for a deserved victory.
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