Palace stay on upward curve
West Brom 0 Crystal Palace 2
Crystal Palace's revival under Tony Pulis continues. Dwight Gayle's scruffy first-half goal and a last-kick strike by Stephane Sessegnon put them into the fourth round at the expense of West Brom, who were booed off and have now won just one of their past 11 matches.
Albion are still searching for a permanent successor to Steve Clarke, who was sacked on December 15, and expect to make an appointment within the next week. Malky Mackay has been linked with the job, but a source close to the board at the Hawthorns indicated last night that the Scot was not in the running.
The caretaker, Keith Downing, was entitled to consider himself, and his team, unfortunate here to run into Julian Speroni in outstanding form.
Motivated by Pulis's pursuit of the Wolves goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey, the Argentinian produced a man-of-the-match performance, denying Matej Vydra and Saido Berahino with notable saves.
The Hawthorns was less than half full, the fans harbouring Premier League priorities. This led Pulis to appeal for action to be taken to preserve the standing of the competition. "We've got to try as a nation to make sure that we keep it a great competition and filling the stadiums would certainly be a help," he said.
For the first goal, midway through the first half, a poor clearance by Goran Popov went straight to Hiram Boateng, who set up Gayle. The striker's turn and mishit shot sent Foster the wrong way. Gera should have equalised in added time but hit Danny Gabbidon with his shot at close range and instead Sessegnon doubled the margin with the last kick.