Crystal Palace 2 Burnley 0 – Eagles dominate with only Hart’s defiance keeping the score down

BY MAX HALL

If there was a stroke of fortune about the first-half goal from James McArthur that set Palace on the way to their first home Premier League win of the season, there was no questioning the quality of the second-half rip-snorter from Andros Townsend that put the game to bed.

Palace totally dominated from the off, with Cheikhou Kouyate inches from converting a Wilfried Zaha cross in the fourth minute, Zaha had a shot deflected off target and Max Meyer brought a full-length save from Joe Hart in the Burnley goal.

There was a slice of luck for the 16th-minute opener. McArthur’s short throw to Townsend on the right was returned and the Scot crossed left-footed towards Meyer, with the German’s presence distracting Hart as the ball rolled past both and in off the foot of the far post.

Meyer went close with a curling effort that dropped wide in the 35th minute, and Hart was called into action again six minutes later, tipping the ball around the top-left corner of his goal after Zaha squirted in a cross that kicked up off Burnley left-back Charlie Taylor.

Crystal Palace’s James McArthur celebrates scoring his side’s first goal of the game

Three minutes into the second period, Zaha brought a fabulous fingertip save from Hart after a mesmeric run into the area, and the Eagles ace blazed over five minutes later as he and Townsend broke at pace and the latter fed his strike partner.

Zaha stung Hart’s palms in the 61st minute with McArthur almost scoring with an overhead kick in the resulting scramble, and the Scottish midfielder was only denied by a desperate block from Taylor in the six-yard box as Palace turned the screw.

Zaha almost claimed a sensational goal in the 67th minute, sending a rasping effort against the underside of the bar with Hart a spectator, and Townsend went one better 13 minutes from time, cutting in from the right-hand channel and belting an absolutely unstoppable effort past Hart from the corner of the area.

Crystal Palace (4-4-2): Hennessey, Wan-Bissaka, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, McArthur (Schlupp, 78), Kouyaté, Milivojevic, Meyer (Puncheon, 90), Townsend (Sørloth), Zaha. Subs: Ward, Ayew, Guaita (GK), Kelly.

Burnley (4-4-2): Hart, Lowton, Long, Mee, Taylor, Lennon (Brady, HT), Defour (Vokes, 60), Cork, Gudmundsson, Wood (Barnes, 80), Hendrick. Subs: Heaton (GK), Tarkowski, Westwood, Bardsley.

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