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Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Sports

EPL: Sorry Eagles downed by Downing and Co

The New Paper | Tuesday, Aug 26, 2014

Crystal Palace's Zarate celebrates scoring a goal against West Ham United with team mate Cresswell during their English Premier League soccer match at Selhurst Park in London

Stewart Downing and Carlton Cole also fired home as the Hammers eased past the managerless Eagles, who were unable to add to Marouane Chamakh's smart finish. Palace's second straight defeat plunged the south London club into further distress, with the board still hunting a replacement for Tony Pulis.

Hammers boss Allardyce only clung onto his job in the summer after promising the West Ham board more expansive, attacking football. Former Tottenham and England striker Teddy Sheringham joined the back-room staff, while Allardyce recruited Argentinian forward Zarate from Velez Sarsfield. Allardyce's attacking revolution failed to be ar fruit on the season's opening day in a fr ustrating 1-0 Upton Park defeat to Tottenham, the Hammers spurning a host of half chances.

LIVELY

Former Lazio poacher Zarate was able to cut West Ham's toothless finishing short at Selhurst Park however, capping a lively full debut with a smart first-half finish. Former Middlesb ro ugh wing Down- ing claimed just his second West Ham goal moments later, as Palace paid the price for backing off in midfield. Downing raced down the right, cut off his flank and nudged a side-footed effort past the blamel es s Speroni.

James Tomkins headed against the bar to open the second half as West Ham sought to kill off the contest.

REPRIEVE

Palace immediately seize d on the reprieve, former Arsenal forward Chamakh firing in a low shot from 20 yards to half the deficit. Bannan blasted straight at Adrian from the edge of the area, but just when the hosts scented level terms West Ham struck again.

Striker Cole, so profligate against Spurs, pounced on a loose ball in the Palace box to lash past Speroni and kill the contest. Highly respected commentator Barry Davies was back on BBC duty 10 years after his retirement to call this clash for Match of the Day's 50th anniversary.

The 76-year-old was on hand to witness Palace hit new lows after a testing week , with caretaker manager Keith Millen hardly furthe ri ng his claims to the permanent job.

Co-chairman Steve Parish was joined by former Palace striker Mark Bright in the directors' box, and no doubt the pair had plenty to discuss.

Parish was all set to hand Malky Mackay the reins to replace Pulis, who walked out on the eve of the season after rows over transfer policy.

Mackay fell out of the running after the FA launched an investigation into racist, sexist and homophobic text messages sent during his time as Cardiff manager. Revelations from Cardiff's extensive dossier also led to their former head of recruitment Iain Moody resigning his post as sporting director at Palace.

Tim Sherwood pulled out of the runni ng for the Palace job after in itiall y being deemed second ch oi ce to Mackay , leaving Millen to take charge for the second week running. While West Ham can look towards Cole and Zarate forging a dangerous strike partnership, Palace know time is  running out for transfer recruits wit h the window closing on September 1.

Millen has admitted he will spear - head Palace's recruitment drive in th e absence of both Pul is and now Moody.

Co -chair man Parish must now act swiftly to secure a new managerial appointment however, with Palace already batt li ng to set their season on track.


This article was first published on August 25, 2014.
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