West Ham vs Crystal Palace match report: Eagles survive Glenn Murray red card to add to Hammers' woes

West Ham 1 Crystal Palace 3: Murray scored either side of Scott Dann's header before earning his second yellow card as Enner Valencia's netted a consolation

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The Independent Football

Revenge, they say, is a meal best eaten cold. Alan Pardew enjoyed a frigid banquet on his return to Upton Park, and couldn’t quite pull off the professional pretence that it was just another day in poignantly familiar surroundings.

This was the first time in his managerial career he had won three consecutive Premier League matches, away from home. A richly deserved victory extended Crystal Palace’s unbeaten run away from Selhurst Park to five games, a club record. He permitted himself a gentle swing at fresh air at the final whistle, and responded self-consciously to a chorus of “Super Al.” No further embellishment was required, since the result was unusually eloquent and convincing.

The sullen silence with which Palace’s win was generally greeted, despite the distraction of a late rally following the dismissal of two-goal Glenn Murray for the accumulation of two yellow cards, was a solitary consolation for Sam Allardyce. It could have been so much worse, and laced with the sort of vitriol which tends to characterise West Ham’s relationship with their modern managers. There is no real affinity with their ambitions and achievements; incumbents are judged by the ghost of Ron Greenwood, and matched against the legend of John Lyall.

Pardew (left) produced a vibrant West Ham team, which would have won the FA Cup in 2006 but for the indomitable will of Steven Gerrard. Allardyce has survived scorn and suspicion to fashion a promising side which is suddenly stalling, with a single win in 10 Premier League games.

He pointed out the fine margins of that particular equation, by highlighting recent draws against West Bromwich, Swansea, Manchester United and Southampton, but the suspicion persists that the patience of David Sullivan, one of those owners who effortlessly overstates the sum of his football knowledge, is wearing thin.

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Glenn Murray's header is deflected into the net by Aaron Cresswell

The identification between rival managers was obvious yesterday, when they staged a long, very public, pre-match conversation. Pardew, intriguingly, was the more popular target for autograph hunters. The similarities between the pair extend beyond the coincidence of allegiance, past and present. Both were unpopular at Newcastle, the sort of club which, in theory, should suit their blue collar principles.

Allardyce lasted only 24 games, before he was sacked by Mike Ashley in 2008. For two seasons, as West Ham manager, the crowd never chanted Pardew’s name. He regards the abuse he received, as the saga involving Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano turned sour, as far worse than being fitted for a mock coffin by Newcastle fans.

He seems notably at ease in his new surroundings, and already assured of his immediate priority, survival.  Those Palace fans who responded to his open letter, urging them to “leave the sofa for this one” received decent value for their extortionately priced tickets, £44. Palace reinforced their reputation as the Premier League’s most effective side at set pieces, and won with relative ease. They took the lead four minutes from the end of a dire first half when Aaron Cresswell’s wild swipe at a soft Murray header succeeded only in directing Adrian, his goalkeeper, the wrong way down Green Street.

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Scott Dann makes it 2-0 for a jubilant Palace

No one picked up Scott Dann’s run at another corner five minutes into the second half, and when Murray met Jason Puncheon’s third assist, a curling free kick from the left hand edge of the area, with a low scoring header, Allardyce was apoplectic.

West Ham might have secured their long term future by pilfering the Olympic Stadium, but if there is such a lack of atmosphere at an intimate old fashioned ground like Upton Park, what will it be like in the state-sponsored splendour of their new home? Enner Valencia’s goal failed to lift the mood.

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Adrian is powerless to stop the visitors taking the lead

Pardew was studiously low key afterwards, and asked to be apportioned blame for not substituting Murray sufficiently quickly, when his foul count was rising. He also hoped Mile Jedinak’s late, elbow-led challenge on Diafra Sakho would avoid retrospective punishment.

“It would be a shame if those two incidents grab the headlines” he said. “That victory has given us a great platform, because winning three more home games gives us a great chance of staying up. I keep saying to this team they are better than they think they are”

Allardyce admitted “I didn’t see this coming” but is a far better manager than West Ham’s performance suggested. Since fate plays a fundamental part in football, it may be his turn to come back to the self-styled Academy in another guise next season. He will require no invitation to tuck in.

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Jason Puncheon celebrates with his teammates as Palace take a 2-0 lead

West Ham United (4-1-4-1): Adrian; Jenkinson, Reid, Tomkins, Cresswell; Song (Nene, 61); Noble, Kouyaté, Downing, Valencia; Sakho.

Crystal Palace (4-1-4-1): Speroni; Ward, Dann, Delaney, Kelly; Jedinak; Bolasie (Ledley, 82),Puncheon, Mutch (McArthur, 32) Zaha (Ameobi, 71), Murray.

Referee: Mike Dean

Man of the match: Puncheon (Crystal Palace)

Match rating: 6/10

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