Crystal Palace sealed a solid and crucial 1-0 win over Hull City at Selhurst Park on Tuesday, as the Eagles continue to soar clear of the relegation zone.
Jason Puncheon’s first half piledriver was the difference between the two sides in the driving rain in South London in a blood and thunder battle at the bottom of the table.
Palace’s winger smashed home in the 15th minute at the second attempt after his first header was blocked, as the Eagles held onto their lead after a barrage of efforts from Hull. The Tigers plugged away but couldn’t get any clear cut chances, as the Eagles sealed another vital win.
The clean sheet was Palace’s seventh shutout in their last 13 games, as Tony Pulis’ side have mastered the art of winning ugly and now sit on 23 points in 14th place, while Hull have the same total of points and sit one place above them. .
Hull City started off with plenty of the ball as their new forward partnership of Nikica Jelavic and Shane Long looked lively with superb movement.
However it was Palace who should have gone in front as Mile Jedinak attacked a long ball into the box but his header flashed just wide of the post in the 8th minute.
The visitors continued to look more composed, as the Tigers looked rock solid at the back and were dangerous from set-pieces, as Curtis Davies saw his header saved by Julian Speroni.
Soon after the Tigers were asking for a penalty kick as Daniel Gabbidon looked to have taken down Long in the box as the Irish striker went down but Hull’s appeals were waved away. That decision was costly, as moments later Palace were ahead.
That man Puncheon scored in the 15th minute with a thunderous effort as his initial header was blocked following terrific work from Yannick Bolasie down the right.
For the rest of the first half both teams went toe to toe in the torrid conditions, right on half time Tom Huddlestone smashed a free kick goalwards that Speroni somehow kept out but the Eagles led 1-0 at the break.
After the interval Palace continued to surge forward as Bolasie looked lively down the right and was extremely dangerous on the counter as Hull tried to get back into the game. The Tigers pushed hard in the driving rain at Selhurst Park but Palace seemed to have their number as Steve Bruce cut a frustrated figure on the sidelines.
In the 59th minute Long reacted first as the ball broke free in the box from Speroni’s save but Hull’s striker slammed his effort into the side-netting. Hull huffed and puffed but just couldn’t break down a stubborn Palace defense as the Eagles crowd got behind their side and roared them on to victory.
Late on Hull were reduced to 10-men as goalkeeper Alan McGregor was sent off for kicking out at Stuart O’Keefe in stoppage time, as a miserable night for the Tigers was capped off with Huddlestone having to go in goal with all their substitutes made.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Mariappa, Gabbidon (O’Keefe, 81), Delaney, Moxey, Puncheon, Ward, Jedinak, Bolasie (McCarthy, 64), Chamakh (Wilbraham, 86), Jerome
Goal: Puncheon (15)
Hull City: McGregor, Bruce (Quinn, 76), Davies, McShane, Rosenior, Elmohamady, Meyler (Boyd, 56), Huddlestone, Livermore, Jelavic (Fryatt, 84), Long