BY SAM SMITH
Crystal Palace exited the FA Cup in the third round for the second successive season after Adama Traore’s strike handed Wolverhampton Wanderers a 1-0 win at Molineux.
Traore was afforded too much space to drive towards the penalty area and power an effort into the top corner. It means that the South Londoners have not advanced beyond the third round of the FA Cup since they reached the quarter-final in 2019.
Wolves were the better side throughout and should have gone ahead inside 10 minutes. Pedro Neto’s tricky run led to the winger crossing for Fabio Silva, who somehow headed over from six yards.
Eberechi Eze fired a half-volley over the crossbar soon after – but that was to be one of only four efforts from Roy Hodgson’s side. A toothless attacking performance saw no shots on target.
In fairness, Hodgson had made nine changes from the team that started the 2-0 win against Sheffield United last weekend. But none of those who entered the Palace team made a strong claim to remain when the Eagles travel to Arsenal on Thursday.
One of those changes was the debutant Jack Butland, the goalkeeper signed from Stoke City on transfer deadline day in October, and the 27-year-old conceded the first goal of his Palace career 10 minutes prior to half-time.
Traore dribbled infield from the right and with neither Eze nor Patrick van Aanholt sufficiently closing him down, he thumped a left-footed effort into the roof of Butland’s goal via a slight deflection.
Hodgson will be unimpressed with how his side responded to going behind.
Michy Batshuayi – who is yet to score in his second loan spell with the club – failed to make an impact in a rare opportunity to start. Wilfried Zaha was used as a substitute but to no avail.
Palace now face a tough run of fixtures – they go to Manchester City three days after their trip to Arsenal.
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