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FIVE first-half goals saw Palace outscore rivals Brighton & Hove Albion by three goals to two on Saturday to ease relegation fears for Roy Hodgson’s men.
A goal from James Tomkins coupled with a brace from Wilfried Zaha was enough to see the Eagles over the line in what was a compelling encounter at Selhurst Park.
Ivorian Zaha continued his impressive form by netting in consecutive Premier League games for the first time since March 2015, while bagging his first headed goal in the league in the process.
Brighton players seemed shell-shocked by the energetic opening spell from the hosts. Manager Chris Hughton alluded to the costly nature of his side’s slow start.
“We conceded three goals in a first-half period and, on the balance of percentages, you generally don’t get back to get something from the game and that’s what has hurt us.
“That period where we conceded two goals from corners, where we’ve been really good. And of course a third goal, where the type of run Zaha makes, [was one] we were very aware of.”
“Yes, we could have got a point from it with the chances that we had, but we’ve certainly lost out because of the first-half performance.”
Palace’s momentum was halted momentarily as Glenn Murray’s return to his former club was marked with a goal after he hooked in Lewis Dunk’s header.
A resilient, yet at times, nervy second-half performance meant that anxiety transferred its way around the ground, particularly when Murray had big chances to equalise and salvage something late on for the visitors.
“It’s good to know that your team can hold on,” said a relieved Hodgson after his side’s victory.
“It’s just nice for once to come into a dressing room after the game, knowing that, yeah, second half it could have gone pear-shaped for us.
“We could’ve conceded that equalising goal. There’s no doubt about that, but, on the other hand, it’s nice to know that we didn’t on this occasion.”
Palace’s ability to weather the late storm will give them huge confidence as they prepare to focus on another relegation scrap away at Watford this weekend.
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