BY ANDREW MCSTEEN
Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace side travelled down to the south coast last night to face Bournemouth as they looked to bounce back in the Premier League after dropping two points in the disappointing 0-0 draw in their last outing against lowly Newcastle but found themselves 1-0 down after just five minutes against Bournemouth.
After an insipid first half display, the Eagles came out firing in the second period and brought the game level thanks to a 55th minute strike from Patrick van Aanholt, who smashed home from an offside position.
But just as at least a point looked safe, a moment of madness from Mamadou Sakho saw the Frenchman strike the face of Jefferson Lerma at a free-kick in the box and Junior Stanislas converted the subsequent 87th minute penalty to take a 2-1 win.
“We got off to a slow start and the early goal killed us – we were chasing from there,” said Eagles’ goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey after the match.
“The gaffer explained at half time that we had a slow start and it killed us, but we came out improved, strong and fighting in the second half, got the goal back and looked threating at times.
“We were actually playing really well, and we would have created more chances and may have even won it, but, if anything, we would have definitely liked the point but it’s just a cruel game – it’s little silly mistakes like the penalty that cost us.”
“I would have to watch it again as I didn’t see it,” said the Welsh shotstopper about the incident involving Sakho. “But I thought Mamadou must have pulled him back or something. I came off the pitch and said to Mike (Dean – the referee) ‘what was that all about?’ and he said it was something in his face.”
In a night of disappointment for Palace there were two bright spots, firstly, Hennessey’s work in the Palace goal which looked to secure a valuable point with two excellent saves in the 83rd and 85th minutes as he stopped Callum Wilson and then Dan Gosling scoring, and secondly it was also the first league start for recent signing, Max Meyer, which the Palace faithful had been calling for.
“That’s what I’m there for, it’s part and parcel of the game,” said Hennessey about his saves. “But we need to keep working on these little, minor mistakes which cost us.
“It’s definitely an improvement from last season away from home but we still have work to do and will get out on the training pitch – we’re actually really lucky with the squad that we have now – we’ve got some fantastic players [like Max].
“There’s competition in every area so it’s difficult for the manager to select but as a player it keeps you on your toes, it’s fantastic, it keeps you in the team, you want that shirt.”