Thursday 22 February 2018

Hodgson back on track

West Brom 0 Crystal Palace 0

West Brom's James McClean keeps Crystal Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp at bay. Photo: Reuters
West Brom's James McClean keeps Crystal Palace's Jeffrey Schlupp at bay. Photo: Reuters

Nick Mashiter

Roy Hodgson believes Crystal Palace are back on track after recovering from train troubles to draw at West Brom. They clinched a point at the Baggies to frustrate Alan Pardew in his first game in charge of the Baggies and climb off the bottom of the Premier League.

It came after Palace were stuck on a broken-down train for three-and-a-half hours on their journey to Birmingham on Friday before their hotel hosted a wedding.

West Brom's Hal Robson-Kanu in action with Crystal Palace's Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Photo: Reuters
West Brom's Hal Robson-Kanu in action with Crystal Palace's Ruben Loftus-Cheek. Photo: Reuters

Hodgson also lost Scott Dann to a virus overnight before goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was injured in the warm-up - meaning Palace only named five substitutes - but he praised his players for their response. "Basically, anything that could go wrong did go wrong," he said. "With the disastrous journey we had, the players were provided with a lot of excuses to not provide the right type of performance but they didn't take them. We got a deserved draw. We got to Euston station in good time and got on the train at 3.23, but at 3.30 it suddenly stopped dead because of problems with the wires overhead.

"We then could not go anywhere, so we spent three-and-half hours in the dark and the cold with no toilet facilities until they eventually managed to get a train alongside us to evacuate us. Instead of being there at 4.45pm we arrived at 9.30pm. Then the hotel we booked was the venue for an Indian wedding so there was plenty of noise until 2am."

Wilfried Zaha and Christian Benteke missed Palace's best chances but Hodgson was pleased the Eagles lifted themselves off the bottom of the table. Salomon Rondon and Hal Robson-Kanu went close for the Baggies but Albion extended their winless run to 13 league games.

Yet Pardew, appointed this week on a deal until 2020, saw enough in the performance to suggest 17th-placed West Brom will survive. "I was encouraged because I'm still missing five or six you could argue might be starters. If that's the quality of the group I have then we'll be fine," he said.

Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho shields the ball from West Brom's Salomon Rondon. Photo: Reuters.
Crystal Palace's Mamadou Sakho shields the ball from West Brom's Salomon Rondon. Photo: Reuters.

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