Crystal Palace 0-1 West Brom: Salomon Rondon heads second-half winner
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By Peter Smith
Last Updated: 14/08/16 11:45am
West Brom kicked off their 2016/17 Premier League campaign with a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace, thanks to a second-half header from Salomon Rondon.
The Venezuelan rose highest to flick in substitute James McClean's corner on 74 minutes and the visitors held on to start the new season with victory.
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There was a late penalty shout from Yannick Bolasie, who had started the game on the bench following Palace's acceptance of a £30m bid from Everton, and new signing Andros Townsend fired an injury-time free-kick wide as the hosts pushed for an equaliser.
But in a game of few chances it was West Brom and Rondon - who had been denied by a superb Wayne Hennessey save in the first-half - who came out on top.
After seeing his seventh-minute header clawed away by Palace's Wales international goalkeeper, Rondon then turned provider, bringing down a Fletcher long ball before clipping a cross to his strike partner Saido Berahino - in the starting XI despite Palace and Stoke making bids to sign him - but the 23-year-old nodded tamely wide.
At the other end, Connor Wickham should have done better than drag Mile Jedinak's low cross wide on 19 minutes before Townsend scuffed a low drive from 30 yards harmlessly at Ben Foster after cutting in from the right.
Townsend, Palace's £13m summer buy from Newcastle, then saw a shot blocked from close range just after the half-hour mark after picking up Jonas Olsson's headed clearance.
Five minutes after the re-start, Wilfried Zaha spurned a golden chance to open the scoring, shooting straight at Foster when through one-on-one. The former England 'keeper was then up sharply to save Zaha's second attempt.
A wild Wickham free-kick and blocked Jason Puncheon effort followed as Palace grew into the game but at the back there were problems, with a Craig Gardner corner leading to a goal-mouth scramble before Claudio Yacob fired over the bar.
And it was from another cross from out wide that Palace were punished. Townsend fouled Craig Dawson in the right channel and sub McClean's whipped cross was nodded in by Rondon.
Bolasie turned into Yacob in the West Brom box as Palace sought an immediate response, but was rightly denied a penalty, and Palace were unable to create a clear opening in the final stages, as Tony Pulis celebrated victory against his former club.
Crystal Palace: Hennessey (7), Ward (6), Dann (6), Delaney (6), Souare (6), Jedinak (6), Puncheon (5), Townsend (6), Lee (5), Zaha (6), Wickham (5)
Subs used: Bolasie (6), Cabaye (6), Kelly (6)
West Brom: Foster (7), Dawson (6), Olsson (6), McAuley (7), Evans (7), Phillips (6), Fletcher (7), Yacob (7), Gardner (6), Rondon (8), Berahino (6)
Subs used: McClean (7), Morrison (6)
Man of the match: Salomon Rondon