Match Reports

March on target but Palace hit back

Brought to you by...

Solly scored his fifth goal of the season but it finishes 1-1 at Selhurst Park.

By Bruce Talbot • 11 February 2023

By Paul Hazlewood
Solly March celebrates after putting Albion in front against Crystal Palace.

It’s now six Premier League games unbeaten for our men's first team but they left Selhurst Park frustrated not to have beaten Palace.

Solly March’s fifth of the season midway through the second half was the least we deserved but an uncharacteristic error by Rob Sanchez gifted James Tomkins an equaliser with Palace’s only shot on target.

Alexis Mac Allister in particular will wonder how he didn’t score. The World Cup winner had a number of great chances while Pervis Estupinan had a goal disallowed for offside in the first half.

Albion soon settled into a familiar rhythm and the chances came thick and fast in the first half when Mac Allister could have added three times to the goal he scored here in 2020.

By Paul Hazlewood
Made in Sussex: Lewis Dunk congratulates Solly March after he put Albion ahead.

That he didn’t was down to the reflexes of Palace keeper Vincente Guaita, who made a one-handed stop with his right hand in the 12th minute after the Argentinian was teed up by March’s incisive pass. Six minutes later March and Deniz Undav were involved but Guaita sprung to his left to save Mac Allister’s shot.

Guaita denied Albion again with another save at full stretch when Kaoru Mitoma tried to guide the ball into the far corner. At that stage Albion had enjoyed 72% of possession and their dominance seemed to have finally been rewarded in the 31st minute. Pascal Gross’s twinkle toes took him past two challenges and he found Estupinan, who scooped the ball into the far corner from the angle of the six-yard box. Unfortunately, the Ecuadorian had strayed offside and VAR chalked the goal off.

The reprieve belatedly brought Palace to life and Adam Webster got across to make a timely block when Jordan Ayew worked his way into a decent position. But there was still time for Mac Allister to be denied for a third time in the half, this time by Nathaniel Clyne’s challenge which deflected his close-range shot over the bar.

By Paul Hazlewood
Adam Webster at full stretch couldn't quite get this header on target.

March had a couple of sighters early in the second half, hitting one effort into the side netting before Guaita got behind another powerful effort. But when it mattered March came up with the opening goal on 63 minutes. Estupinan deserves credit for the inviting cross from the left and March showed more determination than Tyrick Mitchell as he attacked the ball at the far post and slammed it high into the roof of the net.

It seemed it would take something out of the ordinary for Palace to get back into the game. Sanchez had been a spectator for much of the afternoon but on 69 minutes he dropped Michael Olise’s free kick and Tomkins couldn’t believe his luck as he stooped to head the ball into an empty net from a couple of yards.

By Paul Hazlewood
Kaoru Mitoma was smartly denied by Vicente Guaita.

Lewis Dunk consoled his teammate and Albion soon reasserted their superiority, but the winner eluded them. Mac Allister had another sight of goal when he met Gross’s corner with a stinging header that dropped a yard wide before guiding Estupinan’s cross into the grateful Guaita’s hands. The midfielder couldn’t believe it. He might have gone home with the match ball and Albion definitely should have headed back with three points instead of one.

Albion: Sanchez, Veltman, Dunk, Webster (Lamptey 75), Estupinan, March, Gross, Mac Allister, Caicedo, Mitoma, Undav (Ferguson 57).

Subs not used: Steele, Sarmiento, Enciso, Ayari, van Hecke, Buonanotte, Moran.

Referee: Michael Oliver.

Attendance: 24,427