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Undermanned Palace undo Cherries

AFC Bournemouth AFC Bournemouth

Anthony Taylor

AFC Bournemouth were unable to make their extra man count as they crashed to a 1-0 away defeat at Crystal Palace.

A slow starting contest was enlivened midway through the first half when a reckless Mamadou Sakho challenge resulted in an instant red card, the hosts forced to play the majority of the match a man down. 

The away side were then challenged with unlocking a deep-lying and well marshaled Eagles defence, the game goalless at half time.

Into the second half and the Cherries dominated the ball in search of the opener but fell behind when substitute Jeffrey Schlupp rampaged through to score, and despite their continued efforts the visitors weren't able to pierce the Palace rearguard and fell to defeat at Selhurst Park. 

There were four changes for the Cherries, a wrist injury seeing Steve Cook miss out, Chris Mepham deputising and Nathan Ake named as captain, while there were returns for Philip Billing, Adam Smith and Harry Wilson to the starting 11. 

On a cold but still night proceedings got started, the away side in their strong green away jerseys - the first chance coming and soon going when Luka Milivojevic put a well-positioned free-kick some way over Aaron Ramsdale's goal.

The match muted in the opening exchanges, Wilfried Zaha was crowded out after getting the ball to feet in the area while Jefferson Lerma's attempt to repeat his Selhurst Park stunner from last season was powerful but blocked by a defender.

A 20th-minute flashpoint suddenly changed the complexion of the contest, Palace out of nowhere reduced to ten men.

The Cherries had a throw on on halfway, but when the ball was returned to taker Adam Smith a charging Sakho rashly dived in on the full-back with studs at knee height, referee Anthony Taylor immediately reaching for and showing the Palace defender a straight red card. 

The Eagles were dealt a second first-half blow when Patrick van Aanholt pulled up injured and needed to be replaced by Schlupp, and while the pattern soon emerged of Palace defending deep and the Cherries challenged with finding a way through, the away side were struggling to carve out a chance to push their advantage home.

A first clear chance came when Dominic Solanke passed to Billing just inside the area, the Dane had time to pick his spot but only found the grasp of 'keeper Vincente Guaita, the teams walking back down the tunnel goalless at the break. 

Into the second period and it was the familiar story of long spells of Cherries possession as the visiting side continued to look to break down their opponents - and they almost did just that when Harry Wilson slid a ball across for Callum Wilson close in at the back post, a covering defender just reacting in time to intervene and prevent a certain goal.

The goalscoring puzzle still unsolved, Palace sitting with nine and ten men behind the ball, Eddie Howe made a double change with Ryan Fraser and Simon Francis coming on for Arnaut Danjuma and Diego Rico.

Callum Wilson rose to flick a header and soon Francis had a low shot diverted over by a defender, Solanke next showing Cheikhou Kouyate a clean pair of heels an he raced into the area, his pull back for a lurking Callum Wilson stopped by the diving Guaita.

Despite all the pressure, it was the Eagles who opened the scoring. Schlupp picked up the ball 40 yards from goal, charged forwards with hesitant defenders unable to stop him or prevent a low shot coming in and the shot from ten yards powerful, low and into the back of the net in a flash.

Ramsdale was required to save a long-range James McArthur strike, the decibel level suddenly raised by the home fans in south London following their side's unexpected goal.

Into the closing stages and Lerma forced Guaita into a strong save after Fraser had teed the Colombian up for a shot, four minutes of additional time signaled by the fourth official.

With the Eagles running the clock down when they could they saw the game out, Bournemouth falling to a defeat that will hurt.

Preston North End Deepdale

Sky Bet Championship

6th March 2021 3:00 PM

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