Pardew admits red card incident helped Palace in their 2-2 draw with West Ham

Cheikhou Kouyate was sent-off with the score at 2-1, and Palace were aided by the numerical advantage.

Pardew admits red card incident helped Palace in their 2-2 draw with West Ham
Clattenburg shows Kouyate towards the tunnel following the midfielder's red card | Photo: Sky Sports, Getty

Alan Pardew admitted that Cheikhou Kouyate’s sending-off was a key moment in Crystal Palace's spirited comeback against West Ham.

The Eagles picked up their first point since the beginning of March thanks to Dwight Gayle’s equaliser fifteen minutes from full-time at the Boleyn Ground, but were helped by the red card midway through the second-half. 

Damien Delaney headed Palace into an early fifteen-minute lead, but goals from Argentine midfielder Manuel Lanzini and a stunning Dimitri Payet free-kick meant the  Hammers seemed destined to take all three points in the London derby.

However, Kouyate’s tackle on Gayle was deemed worthy enough of a straight red card by referee Mark Clattenburg, and Palace eventually took advantage of the extra man when Gayle scored his first Premier League goal since January 2015 – a calm finish into the corner following some questionable defending.

Pardew admits "harsh" red card helped his side

Pardew agreed that the sending-off was “the key moment” in the game when asked about the incident in his post-match press conference, and admitted that the decision to send off the West Ham midfielder “looked harsh”.

The Eagles’ boss, however, pointed out that Gayle was sent-off in the reverse fixture – ironically by Clattenburg for a challenge on Kouyate – and claimed that he “felt that decision at the time was harsh” so it “kind of evened things up”.

Pardew went on to admit that he saw signs that his side were “back in their spirit” during the game and said that had someone offered him a 2-2 at West Ham with the form they were in, he “would have taken it.”

Gayle was sent-off in similar circumstances in the return fixture | Photo: Getty images
Palace forward Gayle was sent-off in similar circumstances in the return fixture | Photo: Getty images

Eagles boss pays tribute to famous Boleyn Ground

The 54-year-old also hailed the Hammers’ famous Boleyn Ground, commenting that the game was “a tribute to this stadium that will sadly be no more.”

The Hammers will move into the 60-thousand-capacity Olympic Stadium in the summer and renovation work will take place on the ground they have played at since 1904. 

Pardew spent three successful years as a manager at West Ham – guiding them to promotion in 2005 and to an FA Cup final in 2006 – and left a message on the ‘Farewell Boleyn’ wall, which read, “Will miss this wonderful stadium, good luck to the Hammers.”

Crunch clash with Norwich could be pivotal in Palace's survival hopes

Palace face Norwich City next week and the match could prove pivotal in the relegation battle. Pardew claimed that it is an “important game” and one that he will really need the fans’ support for.

The Canaries sensationally beat fellow relegation rivals Newcastle United thanks to a stoppage-time goal from Martin Olsson at Carrow Road. Both sides could edge further towards safety with a win, but a defeat would spark a nervy final period of the season. 

Pardew's side remain winless since December - a run that was stretched to an amazing 14 games after the draw at West Ham.