Belfast Telegraph

Sunderland's Jermain Defoe is just in time to bring down Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace 0-1 Sunderland

By Steve Tongue

Sam Allardyce's first return to London since leaving West Ham in the summer brought Sunderland a not undeserved victory thanks to a calamitous late error in the Crystal Palace defence.

Jermain Defoe, due to be substituted shortly beforehand, took advantage to give his team a first away win after taking one point from the previous 18 on the road and move them above Bournemouth in the bottom three.

After three defeats in his opening four games as manager, leavened by a heartening, if flattering, derby win over Newcastle, Allardyce pulled off a tactical triumph in a scrappy, stop-start game.

"It has been a great result today," said Allardyce.

"A very resilient performance, our first away win and our second clean sheet. It is a very valuable win for us.

"We have been conceding three goals a game on average and that has to stop. Digging our way out of this position is about being resilient."

After seeing Defoe net the winner 10 minutes from time Allardyce added: "He is a classy finisher. If you want somebody to chase down what looks a lost cause it is him.

"Defoe not giving up is why the defender and the goalkeeper messed up.

"We have a little more hope but we have to strive to have as many points as games we have played. Once we have that we have to kick on."

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After taking four points from Manchester United and Liverpool that should have been six, it was a dispiriting performance for Palace and set back hopes of rising into the top six.

No Palace striker has managed a league goal this season. Connor Wickham, scorer of only 15 in 91 Sunderland appearances and none at his new club, was on the pitch for an anonymous 75 minutes and substitutes Patrick Bamford and Marouane Chamakh fared no better.

Early on Defoe headed a cross down for his partner, Steven Fletcher, who hit his shot far too high. Then Defoe, receiving the ball from Cattermole, swivelled characteristically before shooting wide.

By the interval all Palace had managed in attack were shots from Bolasie and James McArthur that were straight at the goalkeeper.

Pardew waited no longer than the interval to make a change, sacrificing Jason Puncheon to send on Bakary Sako, who would last only 23 minutes before pulling a muscle.

Coates met Sebastian Larsson's corner with a header and Yohan Cabaye, sensibly positioned inside a post, kicked it off the line.

Sunderland substitutes Duncan Watmore and Jeremaine Lens then combined to give Wayne Hennessey his first save of the night but with 10 minutes to play, the Wales goalkeeper and his centre-half, Scott Dann, combined to lose the game. Dann tried to shield the ball then poked it in panic wide of his onrushing goalkeeper and Defoe took full advantage.

Belfast Telegraph


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