1-0 Zaha 3, 2-0 Benteke 34, 3-0 Milivojevic 85, 4-0 van Aanholt 90
Crystal Palace 4-0 Hull City: Eagles soar to safety by relegating toothless Tigers

Crystal Palace 4-0 Hull City: Eagles soar to safety by relegating toothless Tigers

Individual errors and poor marking from set-pieces returned to haunt the visitors again.

chris-lincoln
Chris Lincoln

An inspired display by Crystal Palace in front of a vocal crowd ensured their Premier League safety, whilst Hull City's horrendous away form continued as they were relegated straight back to the Championship after just a season in the top flight.

Ranocchia error gives Eagles the perfect start

The equation was simple going into the contest. A point would secure survival for Palace, though Hull had to win to drag their hosts right into the relegation scrap along with Swansea City and give themselves any kind of hope of staying hope.

The opening moments were always going to be crucial and they, in fact, proved to be critical within just 133 seconds. Marco Silva has done an excellent job of tightening up Hull's defence since his arrival in January but the individual errors from the Mike Phelan era soon reappeared. Andrea Ranocchia had proved a strong addition to Silva's back line but had a moment to forget as he swung wildly at an attempted clearance. The Italian completely missed the ball and allowed Wilf Zaha to run through on goal. There was only ever going to be one outcome as Zaha slotted the ball home.

Hull eventually settled, albeit too late. Sam Clucas mishit an ambitious effort straight at Wayne Hennessey before Harry Maguire fired over. Yet Palace still carried a threat at the other end and James Tomkins flashed an effort wide from Jason Puncheon's corner.

Benteke breezes in to calm the nerves

Alfred N'Diaye fired a long-range effort over before two moments of controversy within as many minutes really tilted the game. Zaha appeared to handle the ball before winning a corner. Puncheon whipped in the resulting set-piece that was duly headed home by Christian Benteke as he was left with a free run at goal. Deja-vu after Sunderland's opener last week but the outcome was clear. Hull now had a mountain to climb after conceding their 21st set-piece of the season.

That mountain could have been shortened to a hill just moments later if luck had of been on their side. Kamil Grosicki hit a poor free-kick but it appeared to strike the outstretched arm of Puncheon in the penalty area. No penalty. The Tigers had to find their hiking boots at half-time.

Hull fail to make pressure count

Silva's response was to bring on two midfielders for defenders as Jarrod Bowen and Shaun Maloney got the nod. Five minutes later Harry Maguire was stretchered off after twisting his ankle, leaving the manager helpless on the touchline. It was now well and truly down to those eleven on the pitch. 

The visitors pressed forward but to little effect as they failed to cause Hennessey any problems whilst camped in the Palace half. Eventually, Hull's most technically gifted player, Grosicki, slowly got more involved in the game. After curling an effort wide, he found Bowen at the back post only for the youngster to miscue his effort off target.

Playing three at the back, the Tigers were always liable to the break and Palace almost made them pay. Andros Townsend picked out Benteke with a cross-field ball only for the Belgian to swing his strike wide. The open spaces gave the powerhouse another chance but he could not issue a clean strike from substitute James McArthur's cross.

Reckless Dawson challenge sums up lack of Tigers' appetite

With 83 minutes on the clock and without a shot of note at Hennessey, Michael Dawson's rash challenge on Jeffrey Schlupp in the penalty area was practically a side note with Hull's survival quest already doomed. Luka Milivojevic stepped up and comfortably slotted the ball home for a 3-0 lead.

Hull had clearly given up hope and when a loose ball fell to McArthur he was able to pick his pass to Patrick van Aanholt with relative ease. The Palace record signing had time to look up and slot the ball home for a fourth. Hull were crying out for the final whistle and it eventually came after Puncheon fired two late efforts off target. An end to their campaign on the road that produced a league-low six points.

In truth, the game summed up Hull's season. A dreadful start based upon individual errors, compounded by terrible set-piece defending. A bit of huff and puff after the midway point sparked a sense of hope, only for a lack of bite in attack to ultimately let them down. Palace staying up, Hull sliding through the trap door.

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