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Published: 20:11 | 15/10/16

Hammers claim vital away win over Palace


West Ham have sneaked to a vital 1-0 Premier League away win over Crystal Palace at Selhurst Park.

A first-half goal from Manuel Lanzini proved the difference between the sides in a game short on quality and high on drama.

Chrstian Benteke should have levelled for Palace in the first half but the former Liverpool and Aston Villa striker slammed his penalty effort wide of the post.

Even following a red card for West Ham’s Aaron Cresswell with a quarter of an hour to play, Palace couldn’t find an equaliser, giving the Hammers three points and a first win in six matches, which sees them move up to 15th in the table and clear of the relegation zone.

Palace should have had the lead early on when Wilfried Zaha was played into space by Jason Puncheon only for Zaha to drag his effort wide of the far post. And the hosts were made to pay for that miss when Lanzini gave the visitors the lead on 21 minutes, when he got on the end of a low cross from Cresswell to turn the ball home.

Palace had a gilt-edged chance to level just before the break when Angelo Ogbonna's challenge on the big Belgian Benteke saw refereree Martin Atkinson point to the spot. But Benteke made a hash of the resulting spot kick, pushing what was supposed to be a stylish effort wide right, and leaving the Hammers with their lead intact at half-time.

With torrential rain pouring down at the London venue, neither side carved out much of note in the period immediately after the break. Simone Zaza - looking for his first goal for the Hammers - got himself into a good position on the edge of the Palace box but snapped a wild shot wide, which summed up the overall standard of the tie.

Shortly after West Ham could and should have doubled their lead. A Lanzini effort was pushed wide by a combination of keeper Steve Mandanda coming out to block and a heavy touch. The ball fell to Payet, whose powerful shot was stopped by the Palace keeper.

Just before the hour mark Palace finally managed a shot on target with Andros Townsend firing straight at Adrian with an effort that proved very comfortable for the keeper to handle.

Palace fans were on their feet on 64 minutes as Zaha was shouting for a penalty following some shirt pulling from Cresswell, but the referee was having none of it, most likely taking into account Zaha tugging on his own marker’s jersey.

With 15 minutes to go Palace were handed the upper hand for the remainder of the tie when Cresswell saw red for two bookings within the space of a minute: one for diving and a second for a foul on Zaha.

With ten minutes on the clock Benteke had another chance to level matters as keeper Adrian was left in no man’s land following a Palace corner, only for the Belgian international to put his effort over the bar with an open goal at his mercy. West Ham held on for an unlikely and highly valuable three points on the road, while Palace's five-game unbeaten run in the league was no more.

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