Crystal Palace 0-1 Sunderland: Jermain Defoe goal earns victory
Last Updated: 24/11/15 9:06am
Sunderland are celebrating just their second victory of the Premier League season after Jermain Defoe struck 10 minutes from time to give them a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace.
Defoe capitalised on a terrible mix-up between Palace defender Scott Dann and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to secure a very hard-fought three points for Sam Allardyce's side.
But their victory was well-deserved too, with Younes Kaboul and his fellow defenders producing tremendously resolute displays to keep the Eagles at bay.
The likes of Yannick Bolasie and Wilfried Zaha were full of running for the hosts but clear-cut chances were at a premium and they continue to struggle to match their sterling away efforts with similar results at Selhurst Park.
Sunderland arrived under huge pressure to get a positive result but they started brightly, Steven Fletcher shooting over after a Defoe knock-down.
Patrick van Aanholt then should have done better than put a tame effort well wide and Defoe himself will feel he should have at least tested Hennessey after he latched onto a neat pass from Lee Cattermole but put his shot wide.
The match then settled into a pattern in which Palace had most of the possession and did most of the attacking, but found their attacks foundering on the outstanding central defensive trio of Kaboul, John O'Shea and Sebastian Coates.
A long-range effort from Bolasie which went straight at Costel Pantilimon in the Sunderland goal was about all Palace could muster in the first period and Sunderland had cause to be happy with their efforts at the break.
And they almost took the lead soon after the resumption, only for Coates' glancing header from a corner to be hacked off the line by Yohan Cabaye.
However, Palace took charge for a period after that and a swerving long range effort from Cabaye drew a decent save from Pantilimon.
Half-time substitute Bakary Sako then shot just wide from distance before picking up a knock and having to be substituted himself.
The arrival of promising youngster Duncan Watmore from the bench gave Sunderland a lift and he did really well down the right in a move which ended in his fellow sub Jeremain Lens testing Hennessey with a low shot.
And, with a stalemate looking odds-on, Sunderland then scored a dramatic winner 10 minutes from time.
Billy Jones' through-ball looked unlikely to cause any problems but Dann tried to shepherd it back to his keeper rather than hoof clear, before inadvertently touching it past his team mate, allowing the predatory Defoe to slide the ball into the empty net.
Palace were roused and almost levelled moments later but Pantilimon did really well to keep out a powerful Cabaye drive.
Defoe then limped off with an injury to watch nervously from the sidelines but he had no more real causes for alarm as Pantilimon and his defence continued to shut an increasingly desperate Palace side out.
The three points were celebrated with raucous delight by the travelling Sunderland contingent and, although the Black Cats are not out of the bottom three, they are up to 18th, just a point behind Newcastle.
Palace remain 10th but there was one piece of good news for the hosts, forward Marouane Chamakh coming off the bench to make his first appearance of the season, having recovered from injury.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (5), Ward (6), Dann (5), Delaney (6), Souare (5), Cabaye (7), Bolasie (6), Zaha (7), McArthur (6), Puncheon (5), Wickham (6)
Subs: Sako (6), Bamford (6), Chamakh (6)
Sunderland: Pantilimon (7), Kaboul (8), O'Shea (7), Coates (7), B Jones (6), Van Aanholt (5), Cattermole (7), Larsson (5), M'Vila (6), Defoe (7), Fletcher (6)
Subs: Lens (6), Graham (6), Watmore (7)
Man of the Match: Younes Kaboul