Crystal Palace faced their second away trip in four days as they travelled to fellow relegation rivals Sunderland, looking to bounce back from the disappointing 3-2 defeat to West Brom on Saturday evening.
Alan Pardew made two changes to the side that lost at the Hawthorns, with Joe Ledley and Emmanuel Adebayor being replaced by club captain Mile Jedinak and the returning Yannick Bolasie - who was vital to the mini second-half comeback against the Baggies. Connor Wickham, fresh from his two goals at the weekend, started against his former side.
Palace create chances to go ahead through Zaha and Dann
The hosts started the brighter of the two sides, wing-backs Patrick van Aanholt and Deandre Yedlin advanced forward at every opportunity, and it was the former who almost created the first chance in the game when he advanced forward and put a low cross into the Palace box which, evaded everyone.
Following the very early spell of pressure, the Eagles began to enjoy a good spell of possession, especially with Bolasie – coupled with fellow wide man Wilfried Zaha – looking to create chances for Wickham.
Zaha had a couple of chances to put his side into an early lead; firstly, Yohan Cabaye threaded a precise through ball to the winger, but he blazed his effort over the bar. Palace quickly recovered possession, however, and Zaha found himself taking on the Sunderland defence once again, but his eventual shot was saved by Sunderland goalkeeper Vito Mannone when the former Manchester United man should have done much better.
Palace’s best chance of the half came when Scott Dann climbed above his marker to powerfully head Jordon Mutch’s corner towards goal, but Mannone was once again equal to the Eagles’ efforts as he pulled off a remarkable save to keep the header out.
Sloppy defending costs frustrated Palace once again
The Eagles appeared to be frustrated by their lack of a cutting edge in front of goal, and it cost them soon after when they found themselves a goal down. Hull City loanee, Dame N’Doye, received the ball around 20 yards from goal and created space to shoot, and his eventual effort deflected off the unfortunate Dann and gave Wayne Hennessey no chance as it nestled into the back of the Welsh goalkeeper's net. For the second time in four days, Palace were trailing due to poor defending.
Rejuvenated Wickham scores sensational brace against former club Sunderland
Palace were much improved in the second-half and turned the game around thanks to a superb performance from Wickham, who scored a seven-minute brace just past the hour mark.
His first goal came when he received the ball on the edge of the box before creating space for a shot, and his eventual effort cannoned into the back of the net via Vito Mannone's left-hand post.
The goal revitalised Palace and they took the lead shortly after when another menacing Mutch corner - which had caused problems for the Black Cats all evening - was headed on into the path of Wickham, who lashed the ball into the roof of the net and wheeled away in celebration against his former club. It was Wickham's fourth goal in two games, having previously scored once all season prior to his double against West Brom.
Borini breaks Palace hearts with late stunner
Wickham had chances to score a third Palace goal but Mannone denied his former teammate twice in quick succession as Palace searched to clinch a first win in eleven league games.
With the game seemingly won, Wickham was replaced by Adebayor as the Eagles looked to hold on to a vital three points. However, Sunderland had failed to read the script as Fabio Borini - who had only been on the pitch for ten minutes - squeezed a shot into Hennessey's goal from a seemingly impossible angle to steal a point for the hosts.
The result means Palace extend their winless league run to eleven league games as Pardew's side's horrifying run of form continues. The Eagles face Liverpool at Selhurst Park on Sunday and will be desperate for a positive result to secure their Premier League status.