Wednesday 22 November 2017

Palace complete escape act as Allardyce feels wrath of fans

Under-fire West Ham manager Sam Allardyce
Under-fire West Ham manager Sam Allardyce
West Ham United's Matt Jarvis challenges Crystal Palace's Joel Ward
West Ham United's Pablo Armero challenges Crystal Palace's Yannick Bolasie
West Ham's Carlton Cole and Crystal Palace's Adrian Mariappa compete for the ball
Crystal Palace's players applaud the traveling fans at full time

West Ham 0 Crystal Palace 1 Tom Prentki

Crystal Palace have won five consecutive top-flight games for the first time in 22 years as Tony Pulis continued his remarkable escapology act with this hard-fought victory over an uninventive West Ham.

"It's been a remarkable turnaround and everyone at the club deserves a lot of credit," said Pulis. "That doesn't just happen. They've stomached a lot of weeks without having days off. We're an exciting team and we've played some really really good football.

"Everybody was telling me not to do it (manage Palace). It was only Peter Coates and Alex Ferguson. They were the two that said there's plenty of games left to do it."

Just six points separate these teams yet one manager left the field to adoration from his supporters, while the other was subjected to chants of "you don't know what you're doing."

Arsene Wenger has championed Pulis's case for Manager of the Season.

Meanwhile, fears that West Ham will not be able to attract large numbers to the Olympic Stadium playing Sam Allardyce's brand of football continue to grow.

"I'm as frustrated as they are. I don't want to see my football team losing," said a morose Allardyce. "In the end it's about one thing. When you get the opportunity to score, you've got to score. Our finishing was pretty miserable today."

The game seemed destined to end goalless until Pablo Armero brought down Cameron Jerome and Mile Jedinak converted the penalty. "It was a silly challenge really," said Allardyce.

It was the third penalty appeal of the match after Andy Carroll was shunted to the ground by Damien Delaney in the first half and Palace's Adrian Mariappa saw his shot handled by Kevin Nolan.

West Ham had more of the ball in the first half but offered little threat. Carroll, whose England claims were not enhanced by this performance, looked isolated, though was guilty of wastefulness when he was presented with the ball.

The game was far from soporific. It ebbed intriguingly in the first half with Julian Speroni making three superb saves, twice from Mohamed Diame and once from a Carroll header. West Ham failed to threaten after the break and so Allardyce changed Matt Jarvis for Carlton Cole.

Opinions of their managers may differ drastically but both sets of supporters were united in contributing to the minute's applause for 20-year-old Dylan Tombides. The West Ham striker lost his three-year battle with testicular cancer on Friday.

"Football doesn't matter too much to me today after what happened to Dylan in the last few days, said Allardyce. "My thoughts are with him and his family."

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