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Match Reports

REPORT: TOWN 0–2 CRYSTAL PALACE

17 March 2018

Match Reports

REPORT: TOWN 0–2 CRYSTAL PALACE

17 March 2018

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Strikes from James Tomkins and Luka Milivojević (pen) ensured all three points headed back to the Capital in wintery conditions at the John Smith’s Stadium.

Tomkins prodded home from a corner in the first-half which the Terriers never really recovered from, before visiting skipper Milivojević sealed the victory with a spot-kick after Andros Townsend had been fouled.

David Wagner elected to make one change following last Saturday’s goalless stalemate with Swansea. Collin Quaner replaced Rajiv van La Parra on the wing, as the Dutchman took a spot amongst the substitutes. Philip Billing and Elias Kachunga joined Rajiv on the bench, with the latter featuring in the matchday squad for the first time since picking up an injury in the victory at Watford before Christmas.

A bitterly cold March afternoon welcomed Roy Hodgson’s Eagles to HD1- a third fixture of the season

The South London visitors looked to take an early advantage, as a goal-mouth scramble was eventually cleared by Florent Hadergjonaj after James McArthur mis-timed a half-volley on the bounce.

Patrick van Aanholt followed suit to initiate another Palace chance in the opening stages, with the left-back floating a free-kick inches wide of Jonas Lössl’s left-hand post.

Town seemed to be easing into the contest, as the Eagles looked the livelier of the two teams throughout those opening minutes despite Alex Pritchard showing a number of silky touches in a bid to edge closer to breaking the deadlock.

Town’s January signing from Norwich carried on to display his plentiful range of distribution. A splitting pass down the right channel set the re-instated Collin Quaner on his way, and it would take a timely intervention from the back-tracking van Aanholt to intercept and deny Collin what would have undoubtedly been a clear route to bear down on goal.

Christian Benteke’s first real involvement concluded with a fine Christopher Schindler defensive block as the Belgian cut inside looking to find the net.

The striker’s run was found by Wilfried Zaha’s direct surge into the Town half, and Schindler once again proved his solid defensive credentials to perfectly position himself in the way of Benteke’s powerful right-footed strike before it could potentially trouble Jonas Lössl.

Lössl would be troubled shortly after and was beaten at the second attempt from James Tomkins who put the away side a goal to the good.

Tomkins reacted quickest to a Luka Milivojević’s corner and saw his initial effort kept out by the Danish shot stopper, but the defender slotted home at the second bite of the cherry; a goal which Palace had indeed threatened inside the first 30 minutes.

A certain test of character now for the Terriers in the face of adversity, and a Palace pressing game similar to that which David Wagner’s men utilised in the 3-0 victory at Selhurst Park back in August.

That pressing tactic soon resorted to Roy Hodgson deploying a more defensive stance to protect the slender lead. Possession aplenty for Town in and around the penalty area.

In truth, the Blue and Whites had really up their game in response to Palace taking the lead. The energy levels were good, and the desire to build attacks with patience was there for all to see despite the tough task of getting back into the contest ahead of the interval - all the hallmarks for a pivotal second period.

Half-time replacement Chris Löwe set the ball rolling in terms of Town ventures forward at the start of a wintery latter 45; the German’s low cross aimed for Steve Mounié, but James Tomkins crucially intervened just as the Benin striker was looking to pull the trigger.

From one end to the other for Tomkins, as the roles were reversed. Steve Mounié cleared away on the line as Tomkins struck towards the corner having had acres of space to fashion a shooting opportunity from a deep corner delivery.

Chris Löwe the next defensive Terriers hero to halt Benteke’s advances towards the danger area with a sensational recovering slide tackle.

The action was going some way to warming up the sold-out terraces, as Town probed in the snow; Steve Mounié hit the stantion located behind the goal of Wayne Hennessey following a neat touch from a ricochet which occurred as a result of Florent Hadergjonaj’s inventive centre.

Despite the efforts to claw level, Palace doubled its advantage courtesy of Luka Milivojević’s penalty.

The Serb converted from the spot after Zanka was adjudged to have illegally brought down Andros Townsend in the area by referee Mike Dean.

The Town reaction witnessed Elias Kachunga enter the field off the bench in a bid to salvage some sort of reward on home soil.

Palace went close on another occasion as James McArthur’s glancing header narrowly landed the wrong side of the post despite the attentions of Benteke.

Roy Hodgson’s outfit saw out the encounter with relative comfort to ensure it was Palace who gained maximum points in the Premier League, as Town now has an international break to recover ahead of a trip to Newcastle United in two weeks’ time (31 March, 3pm).

TOWN'S LINE-UP (4-2-3-1):

Jonas Lössl; Scott Malone (Chris Löwe, 46’), Christopher Schindler, Mathias Zanka, Florent Hadergjonaj; Jonathan Hogg (c), Aaron Mooy; Tom Ince (Rajiv van La Parra, 60’), Alex Pritchard (Elias Kachunga, 71’), Collin Quaner; Steve Mounié

UNUSED SUBS:

Joel Coleman, Tommy Smith, Philip Billing, Laurent Depoitre

CRYSTAL PALACE'S LINE-UP (4-3-3):

Wayne Hennessey; Patrick Van Aanholt, Mamadou Sakho, James Tomkins, Aaron Wan-Bissaka; Jeffrey Schlupp (Yohan Cabaye, 20’), Luka Milivojević (c); Wilfried Zaha (Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 89’), James McArthur, Andros Townsend; Christian Benteke

UNUSED SUBS:

Diego Cavalieri, Chung-yong Lee, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Martin Kelly, Jairo Riedewald

REFEREE: Mike Dean

ATTENDANCE: 23,980 (2,026 Palace)


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