West Brom 3-2 Crystal Palace: Late fightback falls short for visitors
By Gerard Brand
Last Updated: 28/02/16 12:57am
West Brom beat Crystal Palace 3-2 at the Hawthorns on Saturday to leave Alan Pardew's side without a win in 10 Premier League games.
It was three goals from three chances in the first-half for the Baggies, who took the lead through Craig Gardner's close-range effort, before Craig Dawson made it 2-0 with a header.
Saido Berahino's fine finish had them three up after 31 minutes to add to Palace's first-half woes, though Connor Wickham did give them hope by pulling a goal back just after half-time.
Wickham set up a nervy final 10 minutes with a superb half-volley from the left of the penalty area, and despite Scott Dann going close late on, West Brom held on.
The result moves Tony Pulis' Baggies up a place to 13th in the Premier League, 11 points clear of the relegation zone, while Palace are 14th, eight points from danger.
Pulis made four changes from the side that lost 3-1 at Reading in the FA Cup fifth round last weekend, and it was Gardner, one of those returning players, who opened the scoring.
After Berahino played Salomon Rondon through on goal at a slight angle, the Venezuelan's effort across Wayne Hennessey was parried to the feet of Gardner, who tapped into the empty net on 12 minutes.
It was 2-0 eight minutes later as Gardner turned provider, seeing his free-kick from the right headed into the bottom corner by the unmarked Dawson from 10 yards.
With their third clear-cut chance of the game, the Baggies made it 3-0 in the 31st minute, Berahino guiding a superb volley into the bottom corner from Stephane Sessegnon's searching diagonal over Dann's head.
It was almost 4-0 before half-time, but Gardner's low free-kick from nearly 35 yards was deflected onto the outside of the left post by Joel Ward.
There was a worry for West Brom and Northern Ireland just before half-time, with midfielder Chris Brunt taken off on a stretcher with a serious-looking knee injury, 15 weeks before Euro 2016 begins.
Palace came back into the game against the run of play in the second half through Wickham, who lifted the ball over Ben Foster and finished from an acute angle after Jonas Olsson had failed to shepherd the striker away from danger.
West Brom went up the other end and came within inches of getting regaining three-goal cushion through Berahino, whose superb curling effort from 20 yards hit the upright.
Referee Jon Moss waved away two Crystal Palace penalty appeals in the second-half, the first coming after Dann was pushed from a corner by Gareth McAuley, before Yannick Bolasie, a half-time substitute for Emmanuel Adebayor, was clipped by the knee of McAuley with 17 minutes remaining.
Wickham got his second on 80 minutes with a sublime far-post half-volley after McAuley had poked the ball clear, finishing into the far right corner past several bodies in the area.
They nearly completed the comeback four minutes later through Dann, but his towering header was cleared off the line by Gardner.
West Brom: Foster (5); Olsson (5), Yacob (6), Gardner (7), Brunt (6), McAuley (6), Fletcher (6), Dawson (6), Sessegnon (7), Berahino (8), Rondon (8)
Subs: Chester (6), McClean (6), Sandro (N/A)
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (5); Kelly (4), Dann (5), Delaney (4), Ward (4); Zaha (5), Ledley (5), Cabaye (5), Mutch (6); Wickham (7), Adebayor (4).
Subs: Jedinak (6), Bolasie (7), Gayle (6).
Man of the match: Saido Berahino