Late penalty denies Palace

Date published: Monday 24th August 2015 1:38

Late penalty denies Palace

Berahino’s last-gasp strike completed a second-half fight back initiated by Victor Anichebe six minutes after his half-time introduction. Palace had led 2-0 after Brede Hangeland’s opener and Mile Jedinak’s penalty.
Palace will have felt that, before Mark Clattenburg gave either penalty, they should have had a spot-kick when Wilfried Zaha was upended in the 37th minute but nevertheless the visitors looked comfortable at the break.
The opening goal had the home crowd – and their keeper – feeling hard done by as Ben Foster claimed for a foul when he failed to deal with a Palace corner. With the West Brom keeper struggling, Hangeland bundled the ball home.
It could have been two when Zaha was tripped by Craig Dawson in the box but the Manchester United loanee honestly popped straight back to his feet without appealing.
Palace continued to threaten with the speed of Zaha and Yannick Bolasie on the counter-attack – West Brom’s Sebastien Pocognoli was particularly struggling with their directness. At one stage he caught Zaha late twice within a minute but the worst was yet to come from the Belgian.
In first-half injury time Pocognoli rashly fouled Bolasie and Jedinak scored from the spot.
The introduction of Anichebe at the break in place of the ineffective Stephane Sessegnon livened West Brom up and he pulled a goal back within six minutes.
Palace keeper Julian Speroni was clattered at a corner allowing Anichebe to head home. The Argentine stopper had looked uncomfortable with incoming crosses but on this occasion took an elbow in the face from Craig Dawson as they contested the high ball, leaving an unguarded net in front of Anichebe.
The goal mirrored Hangeland’s opener when Foster complained that the referee had failed his protect him sufficiently.
Speroni remained floored for a number of minutes but after he gathered his senses, Palace’s substitute keeper Wayne Hennessey was ready to come on. Speroni visibly protested his withdrawal in a bizarre scenario but Palace did haul him off – he was later spotted with an ice pack on his head.
Palace began to defend deeper and deeper as West Brom cranked up the pressure – at one stage Foster was able to keep the ball at his feet 10 yards from the half-way line without a challenge.
The six minutes of stoppage time caused by the treatment to Speroni gave the Baggies time to draw level. Anichebe skilfully turned in the box and Jedinak hauled him down.
Berahino, the highest scoring Englishman in the Premier League this season, netted his seventh of the campaign from 12 yards to earn West Brom their share of the spoils.
Paul Merson’s verdict
These were two teams who had a right go. West Brom probably looked at this game and thought they could win it and Palace probably thought the same. Fair play to both teams because they went for it.
Dawson came steaming in from a long way out for the first West Brom goal, but Speroni was falling backwards with bodies around him. Not for the life of me could he mean it. If he meant it then it should be a 25-game ban because he ran a distance. No way. It was accidental, a pure accident. It was touch and go if the ref gave the goal and I thought it was the right decision because Anichebe was in front of the goalie when he fell backwards. For me they were good decisions by the ref all round.

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