PREM: Stoke City 1-0 Crystal Palace


Joe Allen scored his sixth Premier League goal of the season

Joe Allen scored his sixth Premier League goal of the season to give Stoke a 1-0 win over Crystal Palace on Saturday, and pile more misery on Sam Allardyce.


Palace, who conceded four first-half goals in their defeat to Sunderland last weekend, held off Stoke pressure until the 67th minute when Allen calmly slotted beyond Wayne Hennessey at the Bet365 Stadium. The goal continues Allen's best-ever haul in a top-flight campaign, having scored four in the 2011-12 season with Swansea, and sees Stoke climb back into the top half of the table.

Palace, meanwhile, sit just one place above bottom-placed Sunderland on goal difference and two points off safety. Crystal Palace switched to a 4-5-1 formation in the absence of Scott Dann but, with Mamadou Sakho left on the bench, the away side struggled to deal with Peter Crouch's knock-downs early on.

Ramadan Sobhi, back from the Africa Cup of Nations and in for Ibrahim Afellay, took the left position of a three-man Stoke attack, with Crouch's flick to partner Marko Arnautovic bringing a smart save from Hennessey inside 10 minutes.

Andros Townsend was given a rare start in a new-look Palace midfield alongside debutant Luka Milivojevic, and brought Palace's best chance of the first half when his cross found James McArthur, but the Scotland international could only head wide.

Sobhi was the game's biggest threat in the first 45 minutes, picking out the unmarked Allen at the back-post after a solo run, but the Wales international headed over just after the half-hour mark. And Palace were only saved from going in at the break behind by a goal-line clearance from Townsend, who batted away Bruno Martins Indi's powerful header just before half-time.

Stoke struggled to break Palace down in the second half, but just as Saido Berahino was being readied to come on, Arnautovic's lofted ball found Sobhi in the penalty area, who showed strength to hold off Palace defenders before teeing up Allen to slot the ball into the bottom corner.

Palace brought on Jeffrey Schlupp, Yohan Cabaye and Loic Remy as they went in search of an equaliser late on, but Stoke absorbed the pressure and comfortably saw out the win to leapfrog West Ham and Watford into the top 10.


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