This match was a microcosm of Crystal Palace and Norwich City’s ambitions to remain a Premier League club next season. It may be September, but for the former they need to make their home a fortress, while the latter need to cure their travel woes.
Palace were the victors in a tight game thanks to captain Luka Milivojevic’s first-half penalty, on his 100th game for the club before substitute Andros Townsend struck late on.
The result means the hosts are now unbeaten in their last six home Premier League games, dating back to last season, having won and drawn three apiece.
Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic scores from the spot to open the scoring for the hosts
Milivojevic keeps his cool to slot the ball past Norwich goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann
Palace were awarded a penalty after Ibrahim Amadou brought down James McArthur
Andros Towsend ensured Palace claimed all three points by doubling the lead in stoppage time
MATCH FACTS AND LEAGUE TABLE
CRYSTAL PALACE (4-3-3): Guaita 6.5; Ward 6, Kelly 6.5, Cahill 6, Van Aanholt 6.5; McArthur 7 (McCarthy 79), Milivojevic 7, Kouyate 6 (Townsend 70, 7); Zaha 7.5, Ayew 6.5 (Meyer), Schlupp 6.5
Subs not used: Hennessey, Dann, Tomkins, Benteke
Goals: Milivojevic (21 pen), Townsend
Manager: Roy Hodgson – 7
NORWICH (4-2-3-1): Fahrmann 5 (McGovern 22); Aarons 5.5, Amadou 4, Godfrey 6, Lewis 5.5; McLean 5.5, Leitner 5.5; Buendia 6, Stiepermann 6, (Drmic 66, 5), Cantwell 6 (Roberts 81); Pukki 6
Subs not used: Byram, Hanley, Roberts, Srbeny, Idah
Manager: Daniel Farke – 5
Referee: Jon Moss – 7
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For Norwich, their away form will be of grave concern to manager Daniel Farke. They have lost all of their top-flight matches away from Carrow Road — scoring just once –— and bar a spell in the first half looked unlikely to change that statistic here.
This fixture has traditionally been a bad omen for either side in the top-flight with at least one of the sides relegated when they have both been in the Premier League. Palace in 1992-93, both sides in 1994-95 and 2004-05, and Norwich in 2013-14 and 2015-16. And on this viewing the Canaries’ wings may be clipped come May.
Palace made one change from their draw at home against Wolves with Martin Kelly coming in for the injured Mamadou Sakho. Meanwhile, Norwich make three changes from their defeat at Burnley. Ralf Fahrmann, Max Aarons and Moritz Leitner coming in for Tim Krul, Sam Byram and Alexander Tettey.
There were landmarks aplenty for the two captains with Ben Godfrey making his 50th for the visitors.
The Eagles came flying out of the traps early on and nearly took the lead after just two minutes. James McArthur won the ball too easily in the Norwich half before releasing Wilfried Zaha down the right-hand side. The hosts’ talisman had left back Jamal Lewis backpedalling into his own box but his effort across goal flew just over the bar.
Jordan Ayew was next to try his luck but his fierce 20-yard piledriver was well parried by Fahrmann – who looked to be struggling. Things got worse for the 31-year-old German, who was making his Premier League debut, and his team-mates as they fell behind.
Zaha was proving a menace down the right-hand flank and this time he sold Todd Cantwell beautifully by faking to cross as he rolled the ball under his right foot. He then had the wherewithal to set up McArthur who saw his initial effort blocked by Godfrey from eight yards out.
But before he could try a second attempt he was brought down by Ibrahim Amadou. It was a stonewall penalty and one that was put away in emphatic fashion on 21 minutes by Milivojevic who curled it into the top right-hand corner.
Stand-in goalkeeper Fahrmann was forced off with an injury soon after the opener
Norwich’s Jamal Lewis holds off Crystal Palace star Wilfried Zaha as the duo tussle for the ball
Fahrmann went the right way but that was his last involvement. The German, who had been struggling before the game with a groin injury, was forced off with Michael McGovern entering the fray. It was his first competitive match for the Canaries since their FA Cup third-round exit at home to Portsmouth on January 5 – 267 days ago.
It took Norwich half an hour to create their first real opening as they began to use the counter-attack. Emiliano Buendia clipped a 40-yard ball over the top for striker Teemu Pukki to chase. The Finn, who has six Premier League goals already, beat the Palace defence to the ball to hit a left-foot shot on the run that was brilliantly tipped over by goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
Roy Hodgson’s side quickly responded and had appeals for another penalty when Zaha went down under a challenge from Cantwell. Replays showed that referee Jon Moss made the correct decision with the Ivorian going down softly – despite the home fans’ protestations.
Roy Hodgson gives out instructions to left back Patrick van Aanholt during the first half
That was about as good as it got for the hosts as Norwich finally got a foothold. The counter-attack was once again their main threat and nearly led to their equaliser. Left back Lewis was released down the flank and his first-time cross found the unmarked Cantwell. The playmaker took a touch and caressed a low effort across goal but a brilliant last-ditch block by Martin Kelly prevented it from going in.
Cantwell, Pukki and Marco Stiepermann were dominating proceedings now and the latter’s powerful run next set up Buendia but Guaita reacted to tip his near-post effort behind for a corner.
Half-time came just at the perfect moment for the hosts. They regrouped and like the first half were the brighter team in the opening minutes after the interval. McArthur came close to extending their lead but blasted over the crossbar from 20 yards out, much to the anguish of the passionate Holmesdale End.
That looked about about as good as it got as the second half until Palace grabbed a second in injury time. Substitute Max Meyer found Zaha down the left who bullied the hapless Amadou before teeing up Townsend.
Townsend, who was also a substitute, took one touch inside the Norwich penalty area before squirming an effort beyond the diving McGovern to seal the victory.
Townsend wheels away in celebration after coming off the bench to seal the victory