Crystal Palace vs West Ham United match report: Mauro Zarate grabs fine debut goal for the Hammers as manager-less Eagles flounder

Crystal Palace 1 West Ham United 3

Selhurst Park

There will be a sense of urgency when Crystal Palace co-chairman Steve Parish renews his search for a manager.

The season is still very young, but Palace are pointless as well as managerless, and one place off the bottom of the Premier League. The situation is not as dire as when Tony Pulis took over from Ian Holloway last season, which underlines there is plenty of time to recover, but with the transfer window closing in a week’s time, and the team in clear need of inspiration, Parish cannot afford to delay.

Of course, this should have been Malky Mackay’s first match in the Selhurst Park dug-out, but that was scuppered by “textgate” during what Parish admitted in his programme notes was a “very difficult week”.

Instead Keith Millen, the caretaker who Parish effectively  ruled out for the job a week  ago, was given a second  audition. It did not go well. The Premier League is a ruthless environment and West Ham United capitalised on Palace’s weaknesses to kick-start their own season.

Two quick goals shortly before the break, from Mauro Zarate, on his West Ham debut, and Stuart Downing, put West Ham in charge. Marouane Chamakh pulled one back soon after the interval but Carlton Cole’s 62nd-minute strike confirmed West Ham’s supremacy.

“The frst half was not good enough,” said Millen. “I don’t like to make excuses but it has been a tough week for the players, whether that had any bearing I don’t know.” The caretaker said he expects to be in charge for Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie at Walsall, still wanted the job permanently, and did not think this one match should have any bearing on his candidacy. Millen is also involved in transfer plans. “Everyone knows we need to strengthen the squad. I have put names forward and the chairman is working on them.”

He had to dip into the current squad to make three enforced changes yesterday. Barry Bannan replaced the suspended Jason Puncheon and Damien Delaney deputised for the injured Scott Dann. Then, in the warm-up, Joe Ledley injured his groin. Stuart O’Keefe stepped up from the bench.

Bouyed by their noisy home support, Palace began brightly with Chamakh twice coming close to scoring, but West Ham then took control in midfield. Aaron Cresswell, who looks a neat and tidy signing, should have opened the scoring after 24 minutes after Cole laid back Downing’s cross but wrongly opted to shoot with his left. The advantages of being two-footed were being demonstrated by Downing who was tormenting Joel Ward.

Palace beat West Ham 1-0 home and away last season but any prospect of a third such win disappeared after 37 minutes. Palace, dozing, allowed Mark Noble and Ricardo Vaz Te to run a short-corner routine, and though Fraizer Campbell blocked Noble’s shot, the ball fell to Zarate. The Argentine volleyed past unsighted compatriot Julian Speroni from more than 20 yards. Three minutes later Downing cut in from right with Ward in his wake and threaded a left-footed shot inside the far post.

Luck seemed to have returned to Palace when, within 120 seconds soon after the re-start,  Tomkins eluded Brede Hangeland but headed Downing’s corner against the bar, then Chamakh, found in space by Mike Jedinak, halved the deficit from the ede of the area.

West Ham briefly looked vulnerable but, on the hour, Palace failed to deal with a deep lofted free-kick by Tomkins and were punished when Cole smashed in the loose ball. It was his first goal since February, evidence, perhaps, of the impact of Teddy Sheringham, the club’s new finishing coach.

Though Palace never gave in, it was, thereafter, a stoll for the Hammers, with Allardyce able to give new signings Diafra Sakho and Diego Poyet their first action. It is early days but West Ham, unlike their opponents, suddenly look like a club that knows where it is going.

“It is a really good comeback from losing last week,” said Sam Allardyce. “We got that performance last week, this time we got the result as well.”

More than 90 years of car history are coming to an end with the abolition of the paper car-tax disc
newsThis and other facts you never knew about the paper circle - completely obsolete tomorrow
Arts and Entertainment
Gay and OK: a scene from 'Pride'
filmsUS film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
people'I’d rather have Fred and Rose West quote my characters on childcare'
Arts and Entertainment
Hilary North's 'How My Life Has Changed', 2001
booksWell it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
Magic roundabouts: the gyratory system that has excited enthusiasts in Swindon
motoringJust who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
footballManchester City 1 Roma 1: Result leaves Premier League champions in danger of not progressing
Life and Style
The new Windows 10 Start Menu
Bruce Chatwin's novel 'On the Black Hill' was set at The Vision Farm
travelOne of the finest one-day walks you could hope for - in Britain
Kim Jong Un gives field guidance during his inspection of the Korean People's Army (KPA) Naval Unit 167
newsSouth Korean reports suggest rumours of a coup were unfounded
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

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

Day In a Page

Pride: Are censors pandering to homophobia?

Are censors pandering to homophobia?

US film censors have ruled 'Pride' unfit for under-16s, though it contains no sex or violence
The magic of roundabouts

Lords of the rings

Just who are the Roundabout Appreciation Society?
Why do we like making lists?

Notes to self: Why do we like making lists?

Well it was good enough for Ancient Egyptians and Picasso...
Hong Kong protests: A good time to open a new restaurant?

A good time to open a new restaurant in Hong Kong?

As pro-democracy demonstrators hold firm, chef Rowley Leigh, who's in the city to open a new restaurant, says you couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch
10 best children's nightwear

10 best children's nightwear

Make sure the kids stay cosy on cooler autumn nights in this selection of pjs, onesies and nighties
Manchester City vs Roma: Five things we learnt from City’s draw at the Etihad

Manchester City vs Roma

Five things we learnt from City’s Champions League draw at the Etihad
Martin Hardy: Mike Ashley must act now and end the Alan Pardew reign

Trouble on the Tyne

Ashley must act now and end Pardew's reign at Newcastle, says Martin Hardy
Isis is an hour from Baghdad, the Iraq army has little chance against it, and air strikes won't help

Isis an hour away from Baghdad -

and with no sign of Iraq army being able to make a successful counter-attack
Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

Turner Prize 2014 is frustratingly timid

The exhibition nods to rich and potentially brilliant ideas, but steps back
Last chance to see: Half the world’s animals have disappeared over the last 40 years

Last chance to see...

The Earth’s animal wildlife population has halved in 40 years
So here's why teenagers are always grumpy - and it's not what you think

Truth behind teens' grumpiness

Early school hours mess with their biological clocks
Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?

Hacked photos: the third wave

Why can no one stop hackers putting celebrities' private photos online?
Royal Ballet star dubbed 'Charlize Theron in pointe shoes' takes on Manon

Homegrown ballerina is on the rise

Royal Ballet star Melissa Hamilton is about to tackle the role of Manon
Education, eduction, education? Our growing fascination with what really goes on in school

Education, education, education

TV documentaries filmed in classrooms are now a genre in their own right
It’s reasonable to negotiate with the likes of Isis, so why don’t we do it and save lives?

It’s perfectly reasonable to negotiate with villains like Isis

So why don’t we do it and save some lives?