Crystal Palace vs Tottenham match report: Jason Pucheon powers Alan Pardew's Eagles to superb comeback victory over Spurs

Crystal Palace 2 Tottenham 1: Harry Kane put Spurs ahead but a Dwight Gayle penalty and a late Puncheon winner gives Alan Pardew a winning start to life at Palace

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The Independent Football

Alan Pardrew left the Selhurst Park pitch blowing kisses on his first game back as manager, as Tottenham Hotspur were blown away. Mauricio Pochettino’s side could muster none of the vibrancy from their 5-3 win over Chelsea, but the life undeniably returned to the Crystal Palace stands, as Jason Puncheon’s 80th-minute goal gave them an uplifting 2-1 win.

The returning club legend provided a fine response to going behind, but questions will be asked of referee Anthony Taylor after a series of controversial decisions.

Pardew made three changes to the team from the FA Cup win over Dover, but there still wasn’t too much change from the style under Neil Warnock - or indeed the new manager’s own approach at Newcastle United. Much of the first half was reminiscent of many Pardew matches at St James’s Park, as Palace looked content to sit deep, constrain the space around their box, and catch Spurs on the break.

 

At the same time, Mauricio Pochettino’s side were nowhere near as energetic as in their last league game, the momentous 5-3 win over Chelsea. Whereas that was characterised by Spurs’ hell-for-leather pressing, this was much more prosaic.

It ensured the opening period wasn’t the most arresting, but Spurs still should have taken the lead from a 17th-minute open goal.

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New Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew watches on from the dug-out

Kyle Walker’s cross from the right was deflected off Damien Delaney, and seemed to be sitting up for the onrushing Christian Eriksen. With the Dane steaming in a little too quickly, though, he could only manage an off-balance swipe that went past the post. His body position meant it wasn’t quite a sitter, but it still should have been 1-0.

Palace finally had a chance just as good as that in the 36th minute, but Hugo Lloris spread his body superbly to block Glenn Murray for a one-on-one. That was probably a combination of bad miss and great save, given the striker at least had it on target.

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Harry Kane slots home the opening goal

That ensured there was a bit more life to the second half, as Harry Kane quickly showed his recent killer touch to put Spurs 1-0 up. In the 49th minute, the free-scoring forward slid the ball past Julian Speroni, although he did seem to be offside as he received the ball.

Palace could protest, but it meant Kane hit his 18th goal of the season in all competitions, and his sixth in the last six Premier League games. In the same time, Palace have only hit two, which has been part of their problem.

They did almost immediately get an equaliser but the excellent Lloris palmed away Dwight Gayle’s close-range effort.

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Dwight Gayle celebrates after scoring the equaliser from the penalty spot

Gayle got to make amends through a 69th-minute penalty, but there was debate about that too. Benjamin Stambouli lunged in wildly in the box, with Joe Ledley falling to the ground, but the only actual contact seemed to be with the ball.

Nevertheless, referee Taylor pointed to the spot, and Gayle picked his spot to make it 1-1.

Palace might have had another penalty minutes later for a Walker handball, only for appeals to be waved away, but they instead got another goal. The ball bounced around the Spurs territory before coming back to Jason Puncheon at the edge of the area, who drilled the ball into the corner of Lloris’s net.

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Jason Puncheon strikes home the winning goal

By then, the atmosphere had certainly returned, along with an old hero.

Line-ups:

Crystal Palace (4-3-3): Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly; McCarthur, Ledley, Bannan (Guedioura 45); Puncheon, Murray (Zaha, 74), Gayle (Campbell, 87)

Tottenham Hotspur (4-2-3-1): Lloris; Walker, Fazio, Vertonghen, Rose; Stambouli (Soldado, 75), Dembele; Townsend (Capoue, 69), Eriksen, Chadli; Kane

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Match rating: 6/10

Man of the match: Jason Puncheon

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