Premier League - Strike duo fire Palace to vital win

Premier League, Selhurst Park - Crystal Palace 2 (Jerome 6, Chamakh 58) Cardiff 0

Goals in each half from Cameron Jerome and Marouane Chamakh gave Crystal Palace a richly-deserved win against fellow strugglers Cardiff City.

Jerome’s sixth-minute header and Chamakh’s fine finish in the 58th minute made it two wins in two for Tony Pulis’ side against a woefully below-par Cardiff.

The visitors’ best, and only, clear chance of the match fell just two minutes in when Fraizer Campbell, all alone in the six-yard box, saw his header superbly saved by Julian Speroni. He was made to pay minutes later when Jerome converted an almost identical opportunity at the other end, nodding home a precise cross from Jason Puncheon.

Palace, far stronger in the challenge and quicker to the ball, controlled the rest of the half – Puncheon and the lively Barry Bannan both rifling shots wide.

It was a pattern that continued after the break. Jerome was sharply denied by David Marshall before Chamakh, latching onto Bannan’s half-cleared cross, controlled and finished clinically with the outside of his right foot.

Jerome might have made it three, Marshall somehow scooping his close-range effort from the goal line, and then shot wide on the turn – but, a wayward Peter Odemwingie header aside, Cardiff rarely threatened to stage a comeback and the hosts held out comfortably for a win that puts them level with 17th-placed West Ham.

KEY MOMENTS:

2’ CHANCE: Fraizer Campbell has a free header on the six yard line from Don Cowie’s cross. He really should score, but Julian Speroni saves superbly.

6’ GOAL! Crystal Palace 1-0 Cardiff City: Jerome is freed by Dikgacoi, but was crowded out and the chance seemed to have gone. Puncheon picked up the pieces though, and crossed perfectly from the right for the big striker to head home against his old club.

27’ CHANCE: Jedinak spreads the ball to Puncheon, who has a run at John down the right. He should cross to the lurking Jerome, but squirts a shot wide of the near post.

56’ CHANCE: Jerome brings the ball upfield after a Cardiff attack, his shot from 25 yards is deflected and really well saved by Speroni.

58’ GOAL! (Crystal Palace 2-0 Cardiff City): Bannan’s low ball from the left is headed away by the diving Turner, but Chamakh controls and hits a lovely shot from 15 yards that gives Marshall no chance.

70’ CHANCE: How does that not cross the line? Palace are sure that Jerome’s close-range flick from the corner has gone in – but in fact Marshall has scooped it back brilliantly.

80’ CHANCE: Chamakh chests the ball to Bannan quite superbly – and Jerome can’t quite get his cross on target.

KEY STATS:

Palace string together a run of three home Premier League games without defeat for the first time since October and November 2004.

Cardiff don’t like Saturdays – that’s six matches without a win on this day of the week.

The Bluebirds have now failed to score in their last four away matches.

Marouane Chamakh scored in back-to-back Premier League appearances for the first time since November 2010.

MATCHCAST: FULL COMMENTARY AND STATS

TALKING POINT:

Have Palace appointed exactly the right man? Tony Pulis wasn’t many fans’ first choice, but there’s no doubt he has this side playing for him. Palace were relentless this afternoon, winning far more than their fair share of challenges all over the park and putting their opponents under constant pressure. A couple of moments of quality made the difference; all in all, that looks like the perfect recipe for a really good fist against the drop.

MAN OF THE MATCH:

Marouane Chamakh (Crystal Palace) – Strike partner Cameron Jerome has a decent tilt at this award too, but Chamakh looks a player reborn. Not only did he score a fine, vital, second goal for his side, but his hold-up play was a league above anything else on the pitch – and he helped set the tone for Palace’s performance with constant pressing from the front. Palace might just have an unlikely talisman in their battle for safety.

PLAYER RATINGS:

Crystal Palace: Speroni 7, Ward 8, Gabbidon 7, Delaney 7, Moxey 7, Dikgacoi 7, Jedinak 8, Bannan 8, Puncheon 7, Chamakh 9, Jerome 8. Subs: Mariappa 7, O’Keefe 6.

Cardiff City: Marshall 7, Theophile-Catherine 6, Caulker 6, Turner 5, John 6, Medel 5, Bo-Kyung 5, Whittingham 5, Mutch 6, Cowie 6, Campbell 6. Subs: Noone 6, Odemwingie 6, Cornelius 6.

THE MATCH IN A TWEET