West Brom 0-2 Crystal Palace: Speedsters star as Allardyce enjoys back-to-back victories

Sam Allardyce appears to have finally got the wheels in motion as Crystal Palace look to lift themselves away from relegation trouble, with Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend's second-half strikes ensuring the Eagles picked up their second win on the bounce, as they defeated West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns on Saturday.

A dull game was finally brought to life when Zaha rifled in an opener with his left-foot after 55 minutes, his tidy finish coupled with Townsend's excellent goal preventing Tony Pulis from a share of the points in his 300th game as a Premier League manager.

Pulis and Allardyce both named unchanged sides, following their respective wins last weekend. West Brom had hoped to have speedster Matt Phillips back in contention, but he failed a late fitness test.

Benteke goes closest in lifeless first-half

With the majority of the opening exchanges having been spent by the two defences looking to discover who could play the more accurate long ball, Palace nearly broke the deadlock with just under 20 minutes gone.

With a debatable onside decision aiding them in their build up, Christian Benteke nearly made the decision count when he rose highest from Yohan Cabaye's in-swinging corner, only for Christ Brunt to clear off the line.

West Brom looked to respond to that chance by creating one themselves, with some superb intervention from Mamadou Sakho preventing Salomon Rondon from getting on the end of a Craig Dawson cross.

Although on the back-foot mostly, the Baggies would have the only remaining effort on goal as the half drew to a close, Chris Brunt blazing a volley over as James Morrison's deflected cross fell into his path.

Strikers toil

It certainly wasn't looking like a day for the two strikers on show to prosper, with Benteke and Rondon both toiling.

As his side looked to break from a Palace corner, Rondon cut inside to be met by a challenge from Cabaye, one that sent the target man tumbling to the ground. However, referee Mike Jones didn't look interested at all, giving a free-kick to the visitors and leaving Rondon a little lucky to avoid a yellow for simulation.

One man that wouldn't escape the half without a booking was Benteke, with a poor 45 minutes from the Belgian culminating in a yellow card received for an angry reaction to Jones' decision to blow for a foul on Jake Livermore.

A smartly worked corner routine from the hosts almost saw the first goal scored just minutes into the second-half, as Nacer Chadli blasted a half-volley over from a ball cut-back by Brunt. It was an opportunity that he'd live to regret missing, with Palace netting the opener less than five minutes later.

Zaha cool as he opens scoring

Yohan Cabaye showed his quality to set it up, finding Wilfried Zaha on the left side of the area with a fantastic diagonal ball from just inside his own half.

Zaha would do the rest, brilliantly so, taking the ball down on his chest in a fashion that eased him past Brunt, before firing through the legs of Gareth McAuley and into the bottom corner.

It could have been two before the away fans had even finished celebrating the first as Zaha sped into the area, going down under pressure from McAuley, whilst Jason Puncheon's shot deflected wide as he looked to pick up the pieces.

Buoyed by their opener, Palace's afternoon did hit something of a snag as Patrick Van-Aanholt was stretchered off, replaced by Jeffrey Schlupp.

Palace's goal was an excellent one for the neutrals as it helped the game to really opened up, Pulis' bringing on James McClean as Albion craved width in the face of Palace's pace on the break.

Always threatening whenever they got the chance to move the ball forward quickly, Palace had a great chance to seal the game with around 10 minutes left on the clock.

Townsend tremendous to seal victory

Luka Milivojevic's influence throughout the game was an understated one, but there was no questioning the quality of his ball that sent Andros Townsend clear on goal, the winger missing a golden opportunity as Ben Foster stood tall to make the latest in a string of impressive saves.

Townsend wouldn't make the same mistake soon after, as he capped off a well-drilled away performance by Palace with some individual genius to double their lead.

Winning the ball off 17-year-old Jonathan Leko deep in his own half, Townsend won a lengthy physical battle with the substitute as he drove down the left wing of West Brom's half, eventually twisting and turning his way into the area before smashing a powerful effort past Foster, helped by a slight deflection off Evans.

That would prove to be the last significant act of the match, Palace claiming a vital win in their quest to return to the Hawthorns next season, whilst Pulis' men must pick themselves back up for a trip to seventh placed Everton next weekend.