Crystal Palace 1-0 Stoke City

Jason Puncheon
Jason Puncheon

Jason Puncheon scored the only goal of the game as Crystal Palace moved off the bottom of the Premier League table with a victory against Stoke.

Puncheon missed a penalty in the defeat at Tottenham last week but capitalised on Oussama Assaidi's error to score with a low shot just after half-time.

Stoke's best chance of the match saw Marc Wilson's header pushed wide by Julian Speroni in the first half.

The win moves Tony Pulis's side 16th, two points behind former club Stoke.

The Eagles were three points from safety when Pulis took over in November and although they are still struggling for goals - Puncheon's was just their 14th in 22 Premier League matches - they are now looking more than capable of survival.

This was their sixth victory of the season and a fourth in 10 since Pulis took over.

Now winless in five matches, his former club Stoke are drifting into relegation trouble and face a key game against Sunderland next.

Pulis, who left Stoke at the end of last season, was given a warm reception from the Potters fans before a first half in which each side was limited to just one chance of note.

Joel Ward wasted a good early opportunity for the hosts when he glanced wide from Yannick Bolasie's cross.

At the other end, Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni pushed a Wilson header from Charlie Adam's free-kick around the post, while Stoke defender Erik Pieters thumped wide after a neat touch took him past Bolasie.

Pulis banners
Pulis was given a warm reception from Stoke's fans

The visitors almost began the second half in style when Adam collected a header from Jon Walters and beat two players before driving wide from just outside the area.

But instead it was Palace who broke the deadlock, Puncheon putting them ahead with his second goal of the season after some tame Stoke defending.

Assaidi won the ball from Adrian Mariappa in his own area but passed inside - straight to Puncheon - rather than clearing, and the Palace winger was given the room to prod a low shot into the bottom corner.

Walters headed high and wide from Assaidi's deep cross and Adam also thumped wide from distance as Stoke sought to respond.

As the home side were forced back, Peter Crouch also bent a shot just past the post, and Mark Hughes then introduced on-loan Manchester City striker John Guidetti as they pressed forward urgently.

Stoke goalkeeper Jack Butland's triple save from Ward, Puncheon and Stuart O'Keefe kept his team's chances alive.

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Pulis says Palace can stay up

The visitors' desperation was summed up by centre-back Ryan Shawcross playing out the final minutes in attack, but they could not find an equaliser and Butland had to produce a save to deny Puncheon a second.

Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis:

"Sixteen games to go and we've given ourselves a chance from not having a chance but we can't get carried away.

"Punch [Jason Puncheon] is a good player and people miss penalties. People might say not by that much but Punch had to get over it and there were no problems."

On his reception from the Stoke fans: "It was wonderful from the Stoke supporters and I thank them very much. We had a wonderful 10 years together.

"My wife and daughters were Stoke supporters for 10 years so it was difficult for everybody but the main thing was the three points and I hope and pray to be able to go back to Stoke with Palace next season."

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Stoke lack guile and purpose - Hughes

Stoke manager Mark Hughes:

"We huffed and puffed a bit and tried to force the issue but made it difficult for ourselves by conceding a poor goal. That's been the case of late and it's something we need to take out of our game.

"Once they got the first goal, in a game that lacked quality, that was going to be key to winning the game and Palace were able to get that through poor defending.

"We need to nip that in the bud and we gave them a helping hand. They were able to get people behind the ball and we didn't have the guile or purpose to create the chances."

Check out photos from Saturday's Premier League matches at BBC Sport's Facebook page.

As It Stood

2Man City22162463253850
7Man Utd21114635241137
10Aston Villa2266102229-724
15West Brom214982328-521
16Crystal Palace2262141431-1720
18West Ham2246122233-1118
View full Premier League table

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