Stoke City vs. Crystal Palace: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction
With the sun shining in Staffordshire and the rain falling down in the South of England, it seemed that it was a day of opposites taking place in the Premier League.
Some joked that the apocalypse was coming, and it certainly was a day of strange incidents at the Britannia Stadium as newly-promoted Crystal Palace aimed to pile more misery on Stoke, who had lost three of their last four at home prior to the match.
Both sides had a point to prove after narrow opening-day defeats to Liverpool and Tottenham respectively. And in fairness to Crystal Palace, they came fast out of the blocks, with highly-rated summer signing Jose Campana showing glimpses of his ability.
But it was another summer arrival, Marouane Chamakh, making his first start since arriving on a free transfer from Arsenal this summer, who broke the deadlock. The Moroccan international weaved his way through the defence and unleashed a lovely strike which sailed into the top corner to give the Eagles a deserved half-time lead.
It was a goal that shocked many, not just because it was Palace's first of the season, or that Stoke had actually conceded a goal. As a matter of fact, it was Chamakh's first Premier League strike for almost two years, and fans of the South London outfit were as shocked as anybody that the 29-year-old had found the net.
And after having several chances before the interval, Palace were dealt a blow as Stoke clawed their way back into the contest. Peter Crouch was surrounded in the box but managed to nod down the ball to Jonathan Walters, who found Charlie Adam and the Scot neatly slotted his effort into the bottom corner to make it 1-1.
Within minutes of equalising, Stoke were ahead after some poor defending from Ian Holloway's side, who would have been incredulous at his side's lack of discipline at the back. Jedinak failed to clear the header, and as Stoke advanced into the box unchallenged, the ball fell to Ryan Shawcross who swivelled and sent the ball past Speroni to grab his side's second.
Holloway attempted to salvage a point, throwing on teenage star Jonathan Williams and Kevin Phillips and as the half went on, the Eagles continued to pile the pressure on. But Mark Hughes' side held on to secure their first win under the Welshman, to leave their opponents without a point since gaining promotion from the Championship.
|Stoke City||2||1||Crystal Palace|
|GK - Asmir Begovic||6||8||GK - Julian Speroni|
|RB - Geoff Cameron||6||6||RB - Elliot Ward|
|CB - Ryan Shawcross (c)||7||7||CB - Damien Delaney|
|CB - Robert Huth||7||6||CB - Danny Gabbidon|
|LB - Erik Pieters||6||6||LB - Dean Moxey|
|RM - Jonathan Walters||6||7||CM - Jose Campana|
|CM - Steven N'Zonzi||7||8||CM - Mile Jedinak (c)|
|CM - Mark Wilson||6||6||CM - Kagisho Dikcagoi|
|CM - Charlie Adam||7||5||RW - Dwight Gayle|
|LM - Matthew Etherington||7||6||LW - Jason Puncheon|
|ST - Peter Crouch||8||7||ST - Marouane Chamakh|
|Glenn Whelan (on for Adam)||6||6||Owen Garvan (on for Campana)|
|Jermaine Pennant (on for Etherington)||7||6||Jonathan Williams (on for Puncheon)|
|Cameron Jerome (on for Crouch)||6||6||Kevin Phillips (on for Chamakh)|
Man of the Match: Mile Jedinak
Holloway cursed his side's inability to keep Stoke out when they applied the pressure, after conceding twice in four minutes thanks to some shocking defending from the Selhurst Park club.
The former Blackpool boss said after the game: "We had a crazy spell in the second half. We just needed to weather the pressure, unfortunately we didn't."
Meanwhile, his counterpart Mark Hughes was clearly delighted with the response of his side after going into halftime a goal down and coming out with two quick goals before dominating proceedings in the second part of the game.
The hairdryer treatment would have worked a treat as his Stoke side failed to turn up in the first 45 minutes, but after Charlie Adam's equaliser, there only looked like one side who would win it.
Stoke have their first points of the season and will have some confidence going into their game against West Ham on Saturday at Upton Park, while Crystal Palace will be desperate to take maximum points from their home clash against Sunderland next weekend.
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