Crystal Palace move out of drop zone with win at Huddersfield
Goals from James Tomkins and Luka Milivojevic saw a crucial match go Palace’s way.
James Tomkins and Luka Milivojevic struck in either half as Crystal Palace secured their first victory in over two months, running out 2-0 winners at relegation rivals Huddersfield.
Tomkins struck from close-range midway through the first period and Milivojevic converted a second-half penalty as Palace halted a four-game losing run to climb out of the bottom three.
The Londoners’ first win in eight Premier League games lifted them up to 16th in the table, one point and a place behind Huddersfield, who slipped to another damaging home league defeat – their sixth of the season.
Huddersfield had lost just one of their previous four Premier League games, while Palace arrived in West Yorkshire on the back of four straight defeats.
But the Londoners, buoyed by the return of Wilfried Zaha and Mamadou Sakho to their starting line-up, began full of purpose.
James McArthur’s shot was blocked following a corner and after Huddersfield striker Steve Mounie’s cross had bounced on top of the bar, Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic’s free-kick curled narrowly wide.
Palace took a 23rd-minute lead following Milivojevic’s corner. Town failed to clear and after Tomkins’ initial shot had been saved by Jonas Lossl, the Palace centre-half prodded home the rebound.
Huddersfield looked to respond immediately. Milivojevic’s superb last-ditch tackle on Alex Pritchard denied the midfielder a shooting chance in front of goal following Collin Quaner’s cut-back.
But despite taking the game to the visitors, Town did not muster one shot on target in the first half, while Andros Townsend fired over the crossbar at the end of a Palace counter-attack shortly before half-time.
David Wagner replaced left-back Scott Malone with Chris Lowe at the interval and Rajiv van La Parra went on for Ince soon after as Town struggled to build momentum.
Palace went close to increasing their lead from another corner in the 61st minute when Tomkins’ effort was cleared off the goal line by Mounie, who fired just beyond the far post at the other end as the game opened up.
The visitors grabbed the all-important second goal in the 68th minute when Milivojevic slammed home his penalty after Mathias Jorgensen was adjudged to have brought down Townsend on the left edge of the area.
TV replays appeared to justify referee Mike Dean’s decision and Huddersfield were staring at a damaging defeat.
Wagner sent on forward Elias Kachunga in place of Pritchard for the final 20 minutes, but Palace, by now benefiting from Zaha’s ball-carrying, continued to look the more dangerous side.
James McArthur headed Aaron Wan-Bissaka’s cross just wide and Cabaye forced Lossl to save his low effort.
Van La Parra’s low shot was comfortably saved by Wayne Hennessey, but Town served up little to warm a sold-out home crowd in the swirling snow.
Cabaye’s neat turn and volley forced Lossl into another save in the closing stages as Palace nothed their first win since January 13.