BY SAM SMITH
A stoppage-time Diego Jota goal denied Crystal Palace successive victories at Selhurst Park.
The Eagles appeared to have beaten Wolverhampton Wanderers after Leander Dendoncker’s own goal a minute into the second half.
Palace are still unbeaten in their first three games in South London, in stark contrast to this time last year, but they had so many chances to be sure of another victory after going ahead.
Wolves almost led after 10 minutes when Dendoncker wriggled free at the back post from a corner, but his goalbound effort was blocked by James McArthur.
And it was another corner from which Jordan Ayew had Palace’s first opportunity, heading towards goal from Luka Milivojevic’s set-piece but failing to beat Rui Patricio. Wilfried Zaha was also lively, beating Jota down the right but he had his cross blocked before it could reach Ayew.
Vicente Guaita then made a stunning save from a Matt Doherty header just before half time to keep his side level. The Eagles had once again allowed a Wolves player to run free at the back post, but the Spaniard sprawled to his right to deny the full-back’s header which was destined for the top corner.
Guaita was also forced to deny Jota following a clever move around the Palace penalty area.
They proved to be important stops as Palace led inside a minute of the second half. Jeffrey Schlupp did well to break into the Wolves penalty area, the ball ran loose to McArthur and he teed up Ward, whose shot deflected in via Dendoncker’s arm.
It has been a theme of Palace’s season so far to really improve in the second half. They were dominant for the majority of the period, with Milivojevic having a shot deflect just wide and Schlupp seeing an effort blocked.
Zaha was also influential, having his best performance of the season, and tested Patricio after a lengthy run from the halfway line. He then blazed over a good opportunity after being set up by Gary Cahill. At the other end, Guaita denied Raul Jimenez, who had tamely flicked the ball towards goal.
A visiting player was sent off for the third game in succession at Selhurst Park when Romain Saiss saw red on 73 minutes for hauling down Zaha having already been booked for another foul on the Ivorian earlier in the half.
The final 10 minutes were frantic.
Substitute Christian Benteke went through but was denied by Patricio before Wolves countered and Mamadou Sakho’s excellent tackle denied Jota a route to goal.
Traore then saw an effort deflect off Van Aanholt and dip wide of goal.
Schlupp was put through by Benteke and was also thwarted by Patricio. With Palace exposed defensively, having thrown so many players forward, Wolves went up the other end and Ward failed to clear Traore’s cross. The ball fell to Jota to hammer beyond Guaita.
PICTURES BY KEITH GILLARD