A win was important for both sides, especially in the run up to Christmas where the games are running thick and fast in a short period of time. The match itself was very tight, with both sides defending solidly despite wanting to go on the counter attack quickly to set up a goal-scoring opportunity.
Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh (formerly of Arsenal, remember?) broke the deadlock for the hosts with a surprising header in the 41st minute from a corner kick, as the 29-year-old Moroccan targetman was open in space and headed the ball powerfully past the helpless Jaaskelainen who could do nothing but flap at the ball as he saw it beat him into the bottom corner of the net.
|Un-marked: Chamakh took advantage of not being picked up to score before half-time.|
|Surprise: Chamakh wheels away to celebrate his 2nd goal in 14 appearances for Palace.|
The second-half was much more entertaining, with both sides knowing that the game was still up for grabs in terms of the points. Former Liverpool winger Stewart Downing was denied an equaliser after defender Joey O'Brien was judged to have fouled Chamakh in an offside position just beforehand, with both sides looking very dangerous on the counter attack.
Cameron Jerome had a great opportunity to double the hosts' lead, after a great through ball found himself in space with only Jaaskelainen to beat, but the forward ran into space before hesitating and placing the ball to the goalkeeper's left where he dived just at the right time to parry the strike away from goal.
|Great save: Jaaskelainen dived the right way to keep West Ham in the game.|
The West Ham players felt frustrated, annoyed and most importantly hard done by at the end of the game, because they ended up losing 1-0 away from home thanks to a goal they could have defended against and should have ended up winning after Downing's equaliser in the second-half and an offside goal in the first-half.
|Silly: West Ham wonderkid Ravel Morrison was given a yellow card at full-time for this (below)|
|Stupid: Ravel Morrison took his anger out at full-time, at Palace defender Joel Ward.|
|Controversial: Ravel Morrison is in the headlines again, this time for the wrong reasons.|
Palace were obviously happy at full-time, glad for a vital three points with a tough run of fixtures to play;
with Cardiff, Chelsea, Newcastle, Aston Villa and Manchester City all to play from now until the 28th of December.
Another positive to come out of this for Palace:
The fact that new manager Tony Pulis has taken over the club for less than two weeks, and has already won a match against a side everyone did not expect. The newly-promoted side look stronger and more of an attacking thorn already.... could they stay up with this kind of form? Who knows?
|Experienced: Stoke supporters are still scratching their heads as to why Pulis lost his job.|
|Improving: Tony Pulis has already won in charge of Palace, less than 2 weeks after taking over|