The Baggies had eased their way to a three-goal lead within the first half an hour thanks to Craig Gardner, Craig Dawson and Saido Berahino, and the game seemed long out of sight for Alan Pardew’s side.
However, a Connor Wickham and Yannick Bolasie-inspired second-half performance almost snatched a previously unthinkable draw, but Wickham’s two well taken goals were not enough for the Eagles.
Here are the Palace player ratings:
Horrifying Palace defending the reason for defeat
Wayne Hennessey – 5: Made an excellent save to deny Salomon Rondon, but was let down by his defence who failed to track Gardner who tapped in the rebound to set Tony Pulis’ side on their way to victory. Claimed crosses well and had no chance with either of the other two goals.
Martin Kelly – 4: Really poor performance from the full-back who was expected to carry on from a confidence-boosting, goal-scoring display at Tottenham Hotspur the previous week. However, seemed shaky defensively and was nowhere near Gardner when the midfielder gave West Brom the lead.
Scott Dann – 5: Was caught too deep in the build-up to West Brom’s opening goal, however, that mistake aside, he was his usual solid, composed self. Improved in the second-half and should have been awarded a penalty when he was barged to the floor in the penalty box.
Damien Delaney – 5: The Irishman was one of three players to make crucial errors in the build-up to the first goal; he was caught ball-watching as Rondon crept in behind the Palace defender and saw his shot parried straight into the path of Gardner.
Joel Ward – 4: An inability to deal with the movement of Stephane Sessegnon in the first-half while playing left-back saw him switch roles with Kelly at half-time. Ward improved slightly in the second-half but it was not enough to make up for his woeful first 45-minutes.
Palace midfield struggles to command the game
Wilfried Zaha – 6: Only player who looked to carve an opening for Palace in the first-half and credit must go for trying while others were not prepared. However, Chris Brunt frustrated the winger touted for England duty in the summer. Seemed rejuvenated when Bolasie came on at half-time and gained confidence.
Yohan Cabaye – 5: Some neat passes early in the game was about as good as it got for the Frenchman who was once Palace’s star man in the first-half of the season. A wayward shot in the second-half summed up his performance as he was taken off with an injury with ten minutes left on the clock.
Joe Ledley - 5: Seriously struggled to get control of the midfield as the Baggies’ midfield bossed proceedings in the first-half. Was unable produce a similar ball-playing, box-to-box performance that he produced at Spurs.
Jordon Mutch – 6: Unfortunate to be playing out of position as he has so much to offer but his ability is limited playing on the left side of midfield. Still put in a very good shift, delivered a couple of excellent set-pieces and tracked back well to support Ward.
Adebayor anonymous, while Wickham and substitute Bolasie shine in second-half
Emmanuel Adebayor – 3: Seemingly hardly moved within a 10-yard radius of the halfway line in the first-half, struggled to hold the ball up and was a huge reason as to why Palace rarely got near West Brom’s penalty area. Adebayor and Wickham’s style are far too similar for them both to be playing up front together. Rightly substituted at half-time.
Connor Wickham – 7: Was as influential as Adebayor in the first-half but, paired with Bolasie, played like a man possessed in the second 45 minutes. Wonderfully lofted the ball over Ben Foster before tapping into an empty net from a tight angle for his first goal, before scoring the goal of the game with an audacious half-volley that flew into the top corner. However, his goals were not enough to claw back a point.
Yannick Bolasie – 8: Replaced the terrible Adebayor at half-time and was the best player on the pitch on his return to league action following his injury that kept him sidelined since December. Took some of the pressure to create chances from Zaha and gave Palace an attacking outlet as the improvement in the overall team performances coincided with his introduction.
Dwight Gayle – NA: Replaced the injured Cabaye just seconds before Wickham’s second goal, but did not have enough time to have anywhere near the sort of impact he did when he famously came on against Liverpool two years ago under similar circumstances. Saw a wild free-kick go wide.
Mile Jedinak – NA: Replaced Ledley to allow the rest of the midfield to venture forward in the hope of snatching an equaliser. However, his only contribution was to needlessly bundle over James McClean as the winger ran towards the corner flag to waste time.