First half Palace goals sink sorry Spurs


First half goals from Connor Wickham and Andros Townsend saw Crystal Palace to a 2-0 win to knock Tottenham out of the FA Cup at Selhurst Park.

Roy Hodgson named a strong line-up for the home side as Townsend and Wilfried Zaha posed a threat from the wide areas with Wickham the target for crosses into the box.

Mauricio Pochettino rotated heavily from the side that lost to Chelsea, making seven changes including rare starts for youngster Oliver Skipp and fringe player Georges-Kévin N’Koudou.

The away side started the brighter, dominating possession but neither side were able to fashion any chances of note during the early exchanges.

Then the hosts took the lead with seemingly their first attack of the game.

The ball was rolled back to Jeffrey Schlupp on the edge whose first touch saw off Davinson Sanchez before striking across goal. Paulo Gazzaniga could only parry the ball into the path of Connor Wickham who couldn’t miss from two years out, deflecting the ball into the net.

It was Wickham’s first for the south London club since November 2016, a run of 799 days, to give the Eagles the perfect start.

Spurs for all their possession were struggling to create clear-cut openings. Lucas Moura’s effort from long range whistled just over the bar was as close as they came to an equaliser midway through the first period.

They would have to stay aware of Palace’s threat on the counter, seen recently in their strong performances at Anfield and the Etihad.

The hand of Kyle Walker-Peters gave Palace the perfect chance to double the lead on 34 minutes. After Wickham peeled away to the far post, the full-back was adjudged to have handled a cross when challenging the much larger forward in the air, leaving referee Kevin Friend in no doubt as he pointed to the spot.

Former Spurs man Townsend doubled the lead putting the ball emphatically past Gazzaniga, choosing not to celebrate in respect for his former side.

Andros Townsend put Palace two up from the penalty spot against his former side (Photo: Twitter/@CPFC)

Pochettino’s men were now staring down the barrel of exiting both cup competitions within four days.

Palace should have had a third and Townsend a second of his own. A Patrick Van Aanholt run ended in the Dutchman pulling back to the 27-year-old near the penalty spot he had just scored from, only for him to see his shot saved well by Gazzaniga in the Tottenham goal.

The visitors had a great chance from a well-worked free-kick between Kieran Trippier and N’Koudou. A free-kick on the edge was played off to the French winger to shoot from close range but failed to finish despite having two bites at the cherry.

Spurs’ best chance of the half came a couple of minutes later. A foul by Van Aanholt on Juan Foyth saw Friend point to the spot for the second time presenting Spurs with a perfect chance to halve the deficit before half-time.

Trippier who stepped up looking to beat Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni. The right-back struck the ball firmly looking for the left corner but saw his effort fly wide of Speroni’s left post much to the delight of the home fans.

The half-time whistle sounded with Tottenham two down and with plenty of work to be done in the second half.

The visitors decide to make a half-time change to change the complexion of the tie, Erik Lamela replacing Jan Vertonghen as Spurs switched to a back four for the second period.

A superb clearance by Joel Ward stopped Lucas Moura tapping in early in the second half as Spurs looked for a route back into the game.

Palace continued to counter, Sanchez forced to foul in order to stop a Townsend breakaway.

Spurs just couldn’t break down a regimented Palace, Fernando Llorente, Lamela and Trippier all failing to find the net as frustrations grew for the away side.

Young forward Kazaiah Sterling made an appearance for Tottenham but Spurs were still creating limited chances with time dwindling away.

VAR was called into play to check a potential Spurs penalty but appeals were waved away as the clock ran down on Tottenham’s FA Cup campaign.

It was to be Hodgson’s and Palace’s day as they secured the win and advance into the fifth round.

Crystal Palace XI: Speroni (GK), Ward, Kelly, Dann (C), Van Aanholt, Meyer (Milivojevic, 79), Kouyate, Schlupp, Townsend (Ayew, 87), Zaha, Wickham (Benteke, 69)

Unused substitutes: Tupper, Wan-Bissaka, Sakho, Riedewald

Tottenham Hotspur XI: Gazzaniga (GK), Trippier, Sanchez, Foyth, Vertonghen (C) (Lamela, 46), Walker-Peters, Dier (Wanyama, 63), Skipp, Nkoudou, Lucas (Sterling, 81), Llorente

Unused substitutes: Lloris, Aurier, Rose, Winks

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