Crystal Palace were able to put their horrendous Premier League form to one side in the FA Cup on Sunday afternoon as they overcame a below-par Tottenham Hotspur side at White Hart Lane, as Martin Kelly's goal in first-half stoppage time was enough to seal a superb 1-0 victory.
Alan Pardew fielded a full-strength team for the cup clash, with the only changes from the defeat to Watford being Kelly coming in for the suspended Pape Souare, while Joe Ledley came into the midfield in place of Mile Jedinak.
Palace withstood an early onslaught of pressure and could even have been 2-0 down after the first 20 minutes. Harry Kane’s early effort was goal-bound but Dele Alli somehow managed to get in the way of the effort, before the young England midfielder was unlucky to see his effort hit both posts moments later, before seeing the ball being squirmed away from the line by Joel Ward.
Tottenham dominate opening proceedings
The Eagles grew into the game after being on the back-foot for much of the early exchanges and had their own chances to score; Emmanuel Adebayor – facing his former club and receiving a hostile reception – almost put Ledley one-on-one with Michel Vorm, but the stand-in goalkeeper managed to thwart the Welsh midfielder. Scott Dann and Adebayor then had good chances blocked by a resolute Spurs defence that was without usual pair Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.
Tottenham were wasteful in the first-half, particularly from set pieces from which Heung-min Son’s delivery was very poor. However, Kane drew an excellent save from Wayne Hennessey, diving to his right to beat away the England forward’s free-kick.
Palace took the lead in first-half stoppage time through the most unlikely of sources; WIlfried Zaha received the ball on the edge of the box, but the chance to shoot looked to have diminished, until right-back Kelly came surging past the winger on the overlap. Zaha played the ball into the former Liverpool defender’s path and he took one touch before firing the ball into the roof of Vorm’s net to score just his third professional goal - his last coming in a League Cup tie for Liverpool against Chelsea.
Tottenham introduced Christian Eriksen at the break but it was to no avail as Spurs were once again very wasteful. A succession of corners were dealt with easily by a much-improved Palace back four, while Alli, Eriksen and the impressive Nabil Bentaleb had efforts from distance that failed to trouble Hennessey.
Kane had the best opportunity for Spurs in the second half, as he saw his driven left-footed shot fly across goal, but Hennessey was equal to the effort and somehow managed to turn the ball around the post.
Palace also had chances to extend their lead. Zaha should have done better to control Ward's improvised 'shoulder pass', while Connor Wickham also raced through on goal but took too long to shoot before being crowded out by Eric Dier and Kevin Wimmer.
Palace introduced Yannick Bolasie with 20 minutes to go and the winger thought he had set up Wickham for a second Palace goal, but the linesman ruled Wickham to have been in an offside position.
Palace in quarter-final, will play Reading
Pardew will face former club Reading in the quarter-final. A win for either side will result in a trip to Wembley for the semi-final.