Albion Edged Out By Palace In Five Goal Thriller

Brighton suffered a heartbreaking 3-2 defeat at arch rivals Crystal Palace in the Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

All five goals came in an exhilarating opening 35 minutes of the game at Selhurst Park, with Roy Hodgson's Eagles claiming a crucial three points in their battle against relegation.

Chris Hughton made two changes from the side that drew 1-1 with Huddersfield a week ago. One was enforced, as Beram Kayal came in for the suspended Davy Propper, who served the first game of his three match ban after being sent off at the Amex last weekend. Jurgen Locadia also started out wide in place of Solly March, with Anthony Knockaert making a return on the bench after serving his own three match suspension for a straight red card received against Everton last month.

It was a nightmare start for Albion, who found themselves a goal behind five minutes in at Selhurst Park. A one-two from a short corner on the right saw Luka Milivojevic send a low cross-cum-shot across the box. Maty Ryan was unable to get a hand to the ball, which slipped past the Albion 'keeper and defenders in the box to Wilfried Zaha, who poked it into an empty net from a yard out.

Palace remained in the ascendancy, with Andros Townsend's half volley palmed away by Ryan for a corner. Their persistence paid off from the resulting set piece on 14 minutes, as Albion failed to clear James Tomkins' header across goal, with James McArthur having a shot blocked before Tomkins stormed in to drive his second effort into the back of the net and double their lead.

Four minutes later it was the home side who failed to defend from a corner, as Lewis Dunk's header was hooked in by Glenn Murray at the near post to narrow the gap.

However the Eagles restored their two-goal advantage on 24 minutes, as Zaha was left unmarked and ghosted past Ezequiel Schelotto to head Milivojevic's pinpoint cross from the right in at the the back post.

The fifth goal of the game went Albion's way on 35 minutes, as neat play between Kayal and Locadia saw Jose Izquierdo put in on goal on the left of the box, with the Colombian calmly placing the ball past Wayne Hennessey into the far corner of the goal to reduce the deficit once more.

Palace came close to adding a fourth in added on time at the end of the half, as Milivojevic forced a good save from Ryan from the edge of the box.

The start to the second half was much quieter than the 45 minutes that preceded it, but it remained an end-to-end contest with both sides looking for what would be a crucial sixth goal of the game.

The Seagulls came close to levelling the scores just before the hour mark, as Glenn Murray stretched to get his foot on Kayal's looping cross towards the far post, however his effort went narrowly wide of Hennessey's right-hand post. At the other end, Milivojevic sent a fierce free kick into the side netting from an acute angle on 62 minutes.

Albion continued to press in the final ten minutes and forced two great stops from Hennessey, with the Palace 'keeper pushing Anthony Knockaert's cross to safety and getting to his feet to stop Dale Stephen's follow-up shot from outside the box.

A marvellous chance fell to Murray in the dying minutes as March's cross was flicked on by Leonardo Ulloa, however his touch directed the ball away from goal.

It's a crushing defeat for Seagulls fans against their bitter rivals, however Hughton and his players will know that their sloppiness in the first half cost them dearly in South London

Chelsea's comeback at Southampton earlier today has given Albion some breathing room in their fight against the drop, sitting seven points above the bottom three with five games to go. However that run-in sees them face all of the Premier League's top four sides, along with making the trip to an in-form Burnley. They will have to pick themselves up quickly for the visit of Tottenham to the Amex on Tuesday night.

Crystal Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, van Aanholt, Loftus-Cheek (Riedewald 80'), McArthur, Cabaye (Benteke 70'), Milivojevic ©, Townnsend, Zaha
Unused Subs: Speroni, Sorloth, Lee, Bissaka, Kelly

Albion: Ryan; Schelotto, Dunk ©, Duffy, Bong (March 85'); Locadia (Knockaert 45'), Kayal, Stephens, Izquierdo; Gross (Ulloa 70'); Murray
Unused Subs: Krul, Goldson, Baldock, Ulloa

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