Crystal Palace moved a step closer to beating the drop by claiming all three points against a lacklustre Aston Villa side.
Jason Puncheon’s second-half strike was enough to give the south Londoners all three points in a game that could go along way in determining what division Crystal Palace will be playing in next season.
The Premier League duo went into the game on the same amount of points and it was clear to see why as they were evenly matched for the majority of the match.
Both sides seemed content to play the ball around the back four and in midfield without really penetrating the opposition’s back-line during the opening exchanges of the Premier League encounter.
The only real talking point in the opening 45 minutes came in the 36th minute when Crystal Palace had a penalty appeal turned down.
Eagles winger Yannick Bolasie looked certain to open his account for the season when he pulled his foot back to unleash a shot at goal, however his effort was scuffed wide.
Bolasie claimed he was tripped from behind by Grant Holt but referee Howard Webb was having none of it and subsequently waved away the Congolese international’s penalty claim.
Crystal Palace should have opened the scoring in the second half when former Birmingham City forward Cameron Jerome squandered a golden opportunity from close-range.
The lively Bolasie forced Brad Guzan into parrying the ball into the path of Jerome, however the Crystal Palace striker somehow managed to spoon his shot onto the crossbar.
Palace appeared to have been awarded a penalty in the 67th minute when Webb wrongly accused Ciaran Clark of using his hand to block Bolasie’s low cross.
However the Premier League’s supposed top official was overruled by his linesman who rightly said the ball struck Clark’s chest rather than his limb.
Crystal Palace’s goal came in the 76th minute when Puncheon was allowed the time and space to swivel in the boss before hitting a shot which bounced off the post before nestling in the net.
Puncheon should have doubled Crystal Palace’s lead late on after marauding down the right wing before sending his low shot against the woodwork.
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