Crystal Palace 3 - 1 Sunderland

by James, Junior Black Cats Reporter

Eagles fly away from Cats.

Danny Gabbidon, Dwight Gayle and Stuart O’Keefe netted for Crystal Palace as they claimed three points after Steven Fletcher temporarily put Sunderland on level terms.

There were three changes for Sunderland from the trip to Southampton last week. Craig Gardner, Jozy Altidore and Stephane Sessegnon were replaced by David Vaughan, Connor Wickham and Ji for the game at Selhurst Park, where Sunderland has not won since 1995.

Nine minutes in, Jose Campana delivered a corner for Palace. The ball took a double deflection off Ondrej Celustka and Danny Gabbidon, past Westwood, and into the net.

However, the Black Cats could have levelled. Celustka’s first time cross was directed toward Ji. Any contact from the South Korean would have taken the ball into the net but the striker couldn't get a touch.

After a couple of decent counter attacks involving Jason Puncheon, who hit two shots just wide of the post, Sunderland were torn open at the back. A free kick was lost and Mile Jedinak steamed straight down the middle. His 25 yard shot dipped just wide of the post.

Fletcher was brought on at half time after five months out injured. In the 64th minute, the Scotsman got the equaliser for Sunderland. After setting the move away, Fletcher sprinted into the box and got his head on the end of Colback’s cross. The header was burrowed right into the bottom corner. There was no chance for Speroni as 2,200 fans went crazy in the away end.

Sunderland were level for just over ten minutes. With 77 minutes on the clock, John O’Shea was sent off for bringing down Gayle who took the penalty himself, slamming the ball just under Westwood.

Both Dikgacoi and Williams brought good saves out of Westwood in the closing minutes, but Palace were not done yet. Two minutes into the four added, Puncheon teed up substitute O’Keefe, who curled the ball under the bar and into the top corner.

Crystal Palace team: Julian Speroni, Joel Ward, Dean Moxey, Danny Gabbidon, Damien Delaney, Mile Jedinak, Kagisho Dikgacoi, Jose Campana (Johnny Williams), Jason Puncheon, Dwight Gayle (Aaron Wilbraham), Marouane Chamakh (Stuart O’Keefe).

Subs not used: Kevin Phillips, Neil Alexander, Peter Ramage, Steven Dobbie.

Sunderland team: Keiren Westwood, Ondrej Celustka, Jack Colback, Modibo Diakite, John O’Shea, David Vaughan, Seb Larsson, Adam Johnson, Emanuele Giaccherini (Charis Mavrias), Ji (Steven Fletcher), Connor Wickham.

Subs not used: Vito Mannone, Carlos Cuellar, David Moberg Karlsson, Cabral, Valentin Roberge.