West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Crystal Palace: Baggies edge Hawthorns thriller

Tony Pulis' side hold off a sterling Eagles fightback, as West Brom pick up a vital home win.

West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Crystal Palace: Baggies edge Hawthorns thriller
Photo: Adam Fradgley/AMA

West Bromwich Albion survived a second half comeback from Crystal Palace to run out 3-2 winners at The Hawthorns on Saturday evening, in the Premier League.

Goals from Craig Gardner and Craig Dawson, coupled with a Saido Berahino volley, gave the home side a commanding 3-0 lead at the break, before Connor Wickham struck twice to set up a thrilling finale. 

Tony Pulis made four changes to the side that lost at the Madejski Stadium last weekend. Gareth McAuley and Craig Dawson returned as Jonny Evans suffered a recurrence of a hamstring injury and James Chester dropped to the bench. Claudio Yacob and Craig Gardner replaced Sandro and James McClean in midfield.

Alan Pardew named an unchanged side from the one that toppled Tottenham Hotspur 1-0 in their Emirates FA Cup fifth round tie, also last weekend. Yannick Bolasie remained as a substitute, as the Congolese forward was eased back from injury.

Baggies exploded out of the traps

In recent months, West Brom fans have become used to paltry offering from their side. On this occasion however, they were to be spoilt. 

From the off, the tempo was high from the hosts. Salomon Rondon was once again proving to be a handful, this time for The Eagles defence. It didn't take long for the Venezuelan forward to make an impact on the scoreline.

Craig Gardner opened scoring for West Brom (photo:getty)
Craig Gardner opened scoring for West Brom (photo:getty)

Berahino burst through the Palace midfield and slid a sublime through ball to Rondon. The forward ran on goal and lashed a shot across the boughs of the Palace goal. Wayne Hennessey saved low with his feet, but could do nothing to prevent the on-rushing Craig Gardner to tap in.

Home side took control 

Having scored more than a single goal in just seven domestic games this term, the opener spurred West Brom on to a second - this time in typical fashion.

From a set-piece, Gardner delivered from the right and unmarked, found Craig Dawson who power a thunderous header into the Palace net, for his third of the campaign.

Dawson doubles lead for home side (photo:getty)
Dawson doubles lead for home side (photo:getty)

The goals were not done yet in the opening period. In another superb team move, Stephane Sessegnon clipped an inch-perfect over the visiting defence and Berahino finished with aplomb, on the volley, to score his first home goal since October. The Baggies reached half time 3-0 up and seemed to be cruising.

Bolasie introduction sparks Eagles

Pardew had to shake things up to get a foothold in the game. Sure enough it was Bolasie who came on for the cautioned Emmanuel Adebayor. Almost instantaneously, his impact was felt.

The visitors were finally able to run at their opponents, with the width of Bolasie in wide areas. It was however, a Jonas Olsson error that allowed Palace to reduce the deficit.

The Swedish defender left a ball for his goalkeeper Ben Foster, but the England international could not race out in time. Connor Wickham - who foraged a lonely path in the first half - lifted the ball over Foster and finished coolly.

Visitors stage inspiring comeback

After scoring the goal, Palace went on the front foot. For a time, the home side steadied the ship but the chances kept coming. With ten minutes left, Wickham added his second.

Connor Wickham volley sets up grandstand finale (photo:getty)
Connor Wickham volley sets up grandstand finale (photo:getty)

A free-kick was floated in and after Scott Dann got his head on the cross, the ball fell to Wickham, who lashed an unstoppable volley past Foster once more, high into the far corner. The stage was set for a grandstand finale.

West Brom held on with few scares, to record a second league win on the bounce and pull eleven points clear of the drop zone.

The Baggies travel to Leicester City in midweek.