BY MATT WOOSNAM
Two second-half goals from Luka Milivojevic and Patrick van Aanholt were sufficient for Crystal Palace to see off Huddersfield Town and relegate the visitors.
Palace made hard work of it, especially during a poor first half, but a much improved second period earned them all three points and condemn the visitors to a return to the Championship.
The opening opportunity in a first half largely devoid of quality and entertainment came when Michy Batshuayi cut inside into the area, beat a defender, and took aim. But Ben Hamer was able to prevent the Belgian from opening the scoring. The ball fell to Andros Townsend but his follow-up effort was blocked.
Vicente Guaita had to be alert when the visitors broke down the right and Aaron Mooy’s cross found Chris Lowe in space, but he could only head at the Palace goalkeeper who saved well.
Lowe then tested Guaita with a fine effort from a tight angle inside the area but the Spaniard managed to get down to turn the ball behind for a corner.
Neither side created many clear-cut openings but Alex Pritchard was able to hit a snapshot at goal from just inside the area with 10 first-half minutes remaining, but couldn’t direct it on target.
The best move of the half came moments later when Batshuayi skilfully turned his man, passed to Van Aanholt who played it short back to Townsend and his fierce drive was well saved by Hamer.
Whenever Palace broke on the counter they did so seldom with sufficient numbers but some excellent Zaha skill presented Van Aanholt with a decent chance early in the second half. The defender was denied by Hamer who was equal to his rushed effort from the edge of the box.
The Eagles were better in the second period, Zaha in particular bursting into the area several times, and this time it was Townsend he set up perfectly but the winger somehow failed to convert when placed perfectly.
Once again, after significant pressure, they had a further opportunity with Townsend, but it was the same outcome as before, when he failed to get anywhere near the target when we’ll positioned. The chances that were being created were good, the finishing, most certainly, was not.
Finally the hosts took the lead, through a Milivojevic penalty 14 minutes from time. Zaha feinted to shoot and tricked Juninho Bacuna into bringing him down and Milivojevic made no mistake to continue his impeccable record from the spot.
The Terriers had chances of their own. Elias Kachunga first denied by Guaita before some superb defending from Aaron Wan-Bissaka prevented what seemed like an almost certain equaliser as Palace held on.