West Brom 0 Crystal Palace 2 match report: Dwight Gayle damage leaves Albion heading for exit

Gayle scored his fourth goal in eight matches with fellow striker Marouane Chamakh rounding out the scoring

Hawthorns

Here was a contest that would have seemed of huge significance in the Premier League – how Crystal Palace must have wished it was – but failed to sprinkle any of that old Cup magic over a quiet and dispirited Hawthorns. Not that the 2,000 visiting supporters in a crowd of only 12,700 minded, as they brushed off a “Wem-ber-lee” chant rarely heard from followers of a club beaten in the third round for the previous three seasons.

Furthermore, Palace will use this as a springboard to push them further away from the bottom three of the League, from which they recently escaped for the first time this season.

In contrast, Albion, only four points above them, must be aware of the need to fill their managerial vacancy quickly; not because Keith Downing is doing a bad job – this was his first defeat in five matches as caretaker – but because a new man would have his own idea of transfer business to be done over the next three weeks.

Downing has proved astute at rotating the squad but he may have overdone it here in making as many as eight changes. The controversial figure of Nicolas Anelka, who had made all the  headlines last weekend, was given a day off, with Shane Long recalled in his place alongside Matej Vydra in a partnership that did not quite gel.

Not until the second half did Albion present a serious threat, still finding the twin towers Damien Delaney and Danny Gabbidon, with goalkeeper Julian Speroni behind them, difficult to bypass.

Dwight Gayle, brought into Palace’s attack as one of five changes, scored a well taken goal midway through the first half and after that Tony Pulis’s side were able to pull men behind the ball, which was hoofed away without ceremony in between the sort of occasional counter-attack that brought a goal for substitute Marouane Chamakh with the last kick of the game. They also have a midfielder of high promise in Hiram Boateng, a young Londoner not 18 until later this week.

If this was to be Downing’s last game, he will leave with a sense of frustration. “We gave them a goal, which made it doubly difficult, but in the first half we lacked intensity to our game and had too much caution,” he said.

Pulis, a traditionalist who led Stoke City to the final three years ago, regretted the attendance was less than half of that which witnessed the corresponding League game in November (won 2-0 by Albion). “There’s got to be a way of filling the stadiums up,” he said. “That has to be looked at.” It was symptomatic that the opening goal should stem from an error. Goran Popov played a casual pass infield from his left-back position that Boateng latched on to, sending it forward first time for Gayle, who swivelled and cleverly directed his shot out of reach of a flat-footed Ben Foster.

Although each side clipped what used to be called the woodwork, the first half was poor. Early on, Barry Bannan, a former Villa man, hit the outside of a post with a cross-shot from the byline. Soon after the goal, Zoltan Gera’s cross from the left was headed onto the top of bar by Craig Dawson.

In the second half, Albion livened up and Speroni made his best saves from Vydra, low down with one hand, and from Saido Berahino, turned over with some difficulty. Gera pulled his team’s last opportunity wide and on a break in added time, Yannick Bolasie did well down the left and set up Chamakh for an open goal

Line-ups:

West Bromwich  (4-4-2): Foster; Dawson (Amalfitano, 60), McAuley, Lugano, Popov; Gera, Morrison, Yacob (Sessègnon, 80), Berahino; Long, Vydra (Sinclair, 68).

Crystal Palace  (4-5-1): Speroni; Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr; Bolassie, Dikgacoi, Bannan (Puncheon, 78), Boateng (O’Keefe, 67), Williams (Chamakh, 78); Gayle.

Referee:  Phil Dowd

Man of the match: Delaney (Crystal Palace)

Match rating: 6/10.

News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
Danielle George is both science professor and presenter
people
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015