Crystal Palace 1-2 Bournemouth: Benik Afobe seals Cherries victory
By Charlotte Marsh
Last Updated: 03/02/16 12:29am
Benik Afobe's third goal in three games condemned Crystal Palace to a fifth successive Premier League defeat on Tuesday as Bournemouth picked up a 2-1 win at Selhurst Park.
The former Wolves man has thrived since his move from the Championship and added another goal to his tally when he netted a rebound from Matt Ritchie's shot to seal the points for the visitors.
Crystal Palace certainly saw the better of the chances throughout the game but lacked the cutting edge to nick a point despite taking the lead through Scott Dann just before the half-hour mark.
Their lead didn't last long though as Marc Pugh equalised seven minutes later and Afobe pounced in the second half to give Bournemouth another away win and condemn the hosts to their worst Premier League run since 2013.
It leaves the Eagles still stuck on 31 points with Bournemouth closing in behind them - now on 28 points and seven clear of the relegation zone.
Crystal Palace started the game strongly and could have had a goal inside the opening three minutes, with Joel Ward whipping in a ball from the right, but Harry Arter was there to see it out for a corner.
Chung-Yong Lee had a chance from the resulting set-piece, but his effort from just outside the box went high and wide of the bar.
Free-kicks came thick and fast in an opening 45 minutes that was littered with fouls, the best of them coming for Bournemouth ten minutes later.
James McArthur fouled on Dan Gosling right on the edge of the box, with Arter providing a delightful flick on in the build-up.
The Bournemouth contingent standing over the set-piece complained about the Palace wall, but when it was eventually taken by Matt Ritchie, he smashed it straight into the Eagles defenders.
The game was lacking a spark until the 25th minute when the visitors had their best chance of the half, with Charlie Daniels playing in a sublime ball to Afobe on the right of the box.
The striker just needed to tap home with Wayne Hennessey the only man to beat but instead scuffed his shot to send it wide of the post.
Bournemouth were ruing the missed opportunity two minutes later when Crystal Palace pounced to take the lead.
The build-up came from a cleared corner, finding Lee on the right flank who put in a superb back-heel for Wilfried Zaha, letting the winger fire a cross into the box to find Dann, who fired past Artur Boruc to give the hosts the lead.
But it didn't last long with Bournemouth equalising soon after, Daniels playing in another lovely cross for Pugh, who put together some fancy footwork to beat four or five Crystal Palace defenders and sent his shot flying into the bottom corner.
The rest of the half passed without much incident, but plenty of flared tempers, with Arter and Zaha both confronting the officials over their decisions.
Indeed, the Eagles man received a yellow card for a particularly angry rant at the referee's assistant, with McArthur and Pape Souare skying efforts in added time for the hosts
The second half paid homage to the first with Mile Jedinak fouling Gosling within seconds of the restart, and the Eagles certainly starting strong once again.
Bournemouth had to keep a strong line of defence as Jason Puncheon went on a mazy run across the back of the box, eventually playing the ball into Fraizer Campbell, who attempted the spectacular over-head kick but he wasn't able to connect.
But when the visitors began to find their feet, they played some lovely passing football around the Crystal Palace box, with the ball eventually falling to Simon Francis only for him to send his shot straight into the hands of Hennessey.
The Cherries managed to capitalise on their spell of pressure as Afobe netted the winner just before the hour mark and making it three goals in three games for his new side.
It was a fantastic save initially from Hennessey, pushing away a thunderous shot from Ritchie but Afobe was lurking to head home the rebound and put Bournemouth ahead.
During the celebrations, Emmanuel Adebayor came on for his Crystal Palace debut and his first touches were greeted with cheers from the home crowd.
He was involved in the action not long after, setting off a good break for the south Londoners, which ended in Lee hitting an effort towards goal but it was well saved by Boruc.
The game was certainly heated, with Zaha in particular a cause of frustration for both the Bournemouth players and match officials, but continued to win his side a plethora of free kicks on the left-hand side.
With 15 minutes to play, another Zaha-won free kick was whipped in by Puncheon, finding the head of Adebayor who flicked the ball towards goal and it should have been finished by Marouane Chamakh from close range but his effort was somehow scrambled away.
Crystal Palace once again could have had a nick at the post, with Puncheon hitting an effort through a melee of players in the box and just evading the toe of Adebayor to find the hands of Boruc.
The Bournemouth stopper was called into action twice in quick succession in the final few minutes, the first a more spectacular stop.
Crystal Palace mounted another attack, with Zaha playing the ball into Jedinak deep on the left flank and the captain cutting back for Chamakh.
The striker took on the shot - again from close range - but the Cherries 'keeper was there to make a reaction save with his feet to keep his side ahead.
Adebayor could have made it four out of four debut goals in second half added time, with Zaha's cross evading everyone but the striker at the far post, who hit the ball on the turn but it thrashed into the side of the net.
It was a heart in mouth moment for everyone at Selhurst Park but the hosts were unable to find the breakthrough before the final whistle.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (5), Ward (7), Dann (7), Delaney (6), Souare (6), Jedinak (6), McArthur (5), Puncheon (7), Lee (7), Zaha (7), Campbell (5).
Subs used: Mutch (6), Chamakh (6), Adebayor (6).
Bournemouth: Boruc (7), Francis (6), Daniels (6), Smith (6), Cook (5), Gosling (6), Ritchie (6), Arter (7), Surman (5), Pugh (6), Afobe (8).
Subs used: Distin (3), Grabban (4), King (5).