Crystal Palace 3 Wolves 1 - match report

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Wolves' crisis deepened and the pressure mounted on boss Stale Solbakken as his side crashed to their third successive defeat at Crystal Palace.

Wolves' crisis deepened and the pressure mounted on boss Stale Solbakken as his side crashed to their third successive defeat at Crystal Palace.

A miserable festive period has seen Wolves lose to then bottom side Peterborough, Ipswich and Palace, conceding eight and scoring just once.

A free kick from Andre Moritz on 31 and a toe poke from Yannick Bolasie eight minutes later meant there was no way back for Wolves.

Another Moritz free kick seven minutes after the break clinched the points for Ian Holloway's side.

Sylvan Ebanks-Blake's customary goal against Palace and his 10th of the season reduced the arrears 15 minutes from time and at least ensured a competitive end to the game.

But it was another thoroughly unconvincing display from Wolves, devoid of creativity and chances, apart from David Davis' eighth-minute drive against the post.

Solbakken promised changes but made just one from Saturday's 2-0 defeat to Ipswich.

And that was enforced as Richard Stearman replaced Bjorn Sigurdarson, who was ruled out with a recurrence of his thigh injury.


Tongo Doumbia was the other casualty from the 18 from Saturday, out with a tight hamstring.

Stearman, making his first start in nine, was at right back while Kevin Foley was pushed up to right midfield as Solbakken attempted to become more solid.

Palace started on the front foot with Glenn Murray flicking a header over from Moritz's free kick.

Wolves held their own for the opening minutes and went desperately close to taking the lead when Davis' rising drive crashed off the outside of the post after bursting through two players, Bakary Sako firing wide from the rebound.


But Palace soon began to take control, and they seemed quicker all over the pitch and able to play at a higher tempo than Wolves, while harrying their lethargic-looking opponents out of their stride.

Bolasie's 30-yarder bounced dangerously wide and Murray sent a skidding shot the same way after great trickery and a cross from Wilfried Zaha left Wolves in a tangle.

Palace continually led the visitors a merry dance down the flanks and

Zaha was next to try his luck, curling over from Jonathan Parr's cross.

Roger Johnson came to Wolves' rescue when he hacked Zaha's shot off the line from Parr's centre.

Palace had built up a head of steam and it came as no surprise when they took a deserved lead, even if the trip by Sako that resulted in the free kick they scored from wasn't convincing.

The finish was however, as Moritz curled the ball into Carl Ikeme's left-hand corner of the net from 25 yards.

Soon it was 2-0 and Wolves could have no complaints.

Again Palace showed more pace and liveliness to open up the visitors far too easily.

Zaha managed to emerge with the ball despite Stearman lunging in on him in the centre circle, and raced upfield before finding Bolasie with a short pass with a toe-poked finish to Ikeme's near post.

Little changed after the break as Palace scored their third goal in the first attack of the half.

Stephen Ward tripped Moritz 25 yards out as he tried to dribble across the D and the Brazilian midfielder picked himself up and curled the ball into Ikeme's top right-hand corner.

The 61st-minute arrival of Jamie O'Hara and Anthony Forde for Davis and the ineffective Sako improved Wolves slightly as they showed signs of at least competing.

Ebanks-Blake rattled one fierce, angled effort into the sidenetting on 69 minutes and six minutes later, grabbed a consolation with a smart turn and shot from 15 yards after turning onto Stearman's free kick.

But although there was a rarely seen edge to Wolves for the closing quarter of an hour – principally in defence, as Roger Johnson was booked for a set-to with Murray, and Stearman, who buffeting of Bolasie put the Palace winger over the advertising hoardings, they failed to create any chances.

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