If you’re yet to see the highlights of Crystal Palace’s 2-1 win away at Middlesbrough yesterday, you’re in luck, for the time being at least.
It’s been nearly nine months since the boys in red and blue tasted victory in an away Premier League fixture, but yesterday, seemingly buoyed by a stellar second half showing against Bournemouth last time out, the Eagles performed well from the off against Aitor Karanka’s unbeaten Boro side.
Much has been made of Benteke’s considerable aerial abilities in recent weeks and the opening goal of the game highlighted exactly why Palace have seen fit to splash more than £30 million on the powerful Belgian. Supplied with a superb cross from the aforementioned Zaha, who was afforded far more space than he should have been on the right-hand side, Christian climbed gracefully above his marker before powering a header back across the face of Victor Valdes and into the back of the net.
Unfortunately, the goal was cancelled out shortly before the interval when Daniel Ayala leaped well above Damien Delaney to convert from a corner, but it didn’t dampen the spirit of Pardew’s players, who hit the ground running as soon as the second period got underway.
After some impressively intricate passing just inside our own half, the ball was worked onto the right hand side and to the feet of midfield dynamo James McArthur who weighted a beautiful through ball into the path of Wilfried Zaha, who worked hard to bustle past his marker and slot the ball cooly into the net at pace from roughly 12 yards out.
The remainder of the game saw Palace escape one or two real scares, most noticeably a possible handball in the penalty area from Scott Dann, but with Steve Mandanda in fine form between the sticks, the boys held on from an absolutely monumental three points on the North East.
It’s been a long time coming, but the lengthy wait has only served to make the taste of three points on the road sweeter.
Enjoy your Sunday, Palace fans.