Sam Allardyce’s Eagles suffer shock defeat which leaves rivals all-but safe from the drop
ASHLEY BARNES and Andre Gray struck as Burnley won their first away game of the season.
Victory means Sean Dyche’s Clarets can finally stop worrying about the drop after their form on the road finally changed.
Barnes was a constant threat in the first half and fired his side into the lead before having a second ruled out for handball.
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And Gray – who came on for the goalscorer – sealed victory with a tidy finish after being released by George Boyd.
Crystal Palace will be frustrated to lose after a solid run against the Premier League’s bigger teams.
Sam Allardyce is trying to build momentum for next season after steering the Eagles clear of the relegation battle.
FACTS, STATS, GOALS & LOLS
- SAM ALLARDYCE has done an incredible job leading Crystal Palace to safety. If only England had a manager like him!
- BiG SAM made two changes to his line that started their 1-0 defeat to Tottenham on Wednesday with Patrick van Aanholt and Damien Delaney coming in for Jeffrey Schlupp and the crocked Mamadou Sakho.
- BURNLEY boss Sean Dyche made four changes. Not even Joey Barton would have put money on that!
- ASHLEY BARNES slotted Burnley 1-0 up in the eighth minute and as he and the Clarets players celebrated, James Tarkowski was struck on the head by a cigarette lighter thrown from the Holmesdale End, where the Palace fans were sat.
- WHY do Palace fans throw lighters? Because they keep losing their matches.
- BARNES put the ball in the net again for the visitors but, after what seemed an eternity, ropey ref Bobby Madley – who may or may not have a car sticker saying: ‘You don’t have to be Madley to work here but it helps’ – ruled it out for handball.
- BARNES had a stormer in the first half – a Barnestormer you might say – and he almost scored again with a glancing header in the 29th minute.
- PALACE’S best effort before the break was a Luka Milivojevic shot just wide.
- THE Eagles defence badly missed Sakho, who surely would have prevented Sam Vokes from getting another header on target just before half time.
- REFEREE Madley lived up to his surname by losing the plot in the second half as he crumbled under a barrage of abuse of Palace fans and players. Especially Wilfried Zaha, who would have been sent off if I spineless Madley had a backbone. The whistler must have been sniffing his aerosol of magic spray.
- PALACE pressed forward and Burnley keeper Tom Heaton pulled off a spectacular save by tipping Delaney’s shot over the bar.
PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE
WHAT THEY SAID
Ashley Barnes: “You can see by the boys’ reaction that that was a massive win and to do it now in the manner that we did was brilliant.
“The fans have travelled miles all throughout the season. We know our business is not done yet, there are games to be played and see how high we can go.”
Andre Gray: “They were going for the game and looked vulnerable on the counter so we wanted to hang on the shoulder, find the space and exploit that.
“Every striker wants to score more goals, but it has been more about the team this season. The main thing is staying up.”
DREAM TEAM RATINGS
Palace: (4-4-2) Hennessey 5; Ward 6; Kelly 6; Delaney 6; Van Aanholt 7; McCarthur 6; Milivojevic 5; Puncheon 6; Zaha 7; Benteke 6, Townsend 6. Subs: Remy 6, Campbell 6.
Burnley (4-4-2) Heaton 7; Ward 7, Tarkowski 7, KEANE 8, Lowton 7; Arfield 6, Hendrick 6, Westwood 6, Boyd 7, Barnes 7, Vokes 7. Subs: Gray 6, Flanagan 6.