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26 December 2013
• Villa Park, Birmingham
Referee: H. Webb
• Attendance: 37752
D. Gayle 90'+
Whew. That was a fantastic finish to a match that was otherwise low in quality. Palace will be jubilant, but for Villa that was a fourth straight defeat and they were booed off the pitch by the home supporters. Paul Lambert sure has his work cut out ahead of Saturday's home encounter with Swansea City. That's it for our coverage but do stick around the website for live coverage of Manchester City v Liverpool. Bye for now.
90' + 4'
Frenetic finish to the game as Villa win a last-gasp corner. Tonev's delivery is cleared by Palace before the final whistle is blown. Palace grab an invaluable three points.
90' + 2'
Assist Dean Moxey
90' + 2'
Goal Dwight Gayle
PALACE SCORE! And what a goal that is from Gayle. He picks the ball up near the halfway line and runs towards goal with only Delph ahead of him. The young forward cuts inside and unleashes a super shot that beats Guzan.
SUPER SAVE! Lowton finds Bowery with a great cross but Speroni makes himself big to keep out his close-range header.
Villa respond by replacing Weimann with Aleksandar Tonev, but their fans seem to have had enough as many flock toward the exits.
Clark strides forward and plays in a cross from the left but he hits that one straight into the arms Speroni. Dean Moxey comes on in place of Bannan in a defensive-minded change for Palace.
OOH! Ward's cross from the right catches Guzan by surprise and nearly sails into the corner of goal. Narrow escape that for the hosts.
Albrighton's move forward is cut short as Jedinak steps in to win the ball back. Still 0-0.
Villa have lost their earlier impetus and the fans are getting restless. A chorus of boos ring out around Villa Park after Baker's long punt forward falls straight to Speroni.
Albrighton's cross from the right is cut out by Gabbidon. Villa hook Kozan and bring on Jordan Bowery.
Jordan Nathaniel Bowery
Bolasie does well to draw a foul from Bacuna and win a free kick for his side. Bannan's delivery into the box is cleared by Villa.
A lull in play after those changes. Mariappa's cross from the right is too close to goal and Guzan is able to gather.
Yellow Card K. El Ahmadi
El Ahmadi is next into the book for a late challenge on Williams. Palace bring on Dwight Gayle for Jerome.
Kozak runs into space on the right and looks to find a team-mate in the box but his cut-back is intercepted by Ward.
Villa make a change of their own with Leandro Bacuna on for Luna. Meanwhile, Jerome is the second Palace player into the book for blocking a Villa freekick as it was being taken. Silly booking, that.
Yellow Card Cameron Jerome
ANOTHER GREAT SAVE BY GUZAN! The Villa keeper with another outstanding save to deny Puncheon from six-yards out. That is the midfielder's last contribution, though, as he is replaced by Jonathan Williams.
Puncheon has a chance to cross from the left but his delivery is cut out by Ciaran Clark.
Villa on top now after that early surge from Palace. Albrighton has a chance to throw in another corner but his delivery is well defended by the visitors.
WHAT A CHANCE! Weimann has a glorious chance to score the opener but skies his effort from the edge of the box after being found by Albrighton.
Agbonlahor goes on a terrific 50-yard run through the Palace defence but his effort on goal lacks power and Speroni saves easily.
That was a truly world class save from Guzan to deny Bannan. This game is well and truly alive now.
GREAT SAVE! Speroni makes himself big to keep out a close-range effort from Delph before before Bannan's first-time effort is pushed wide to the post by Guzan at the other end. Outstanding sequence of play.
Bolasie gets the better of Luna and wins another corner for Palace. Bannan's set-piece delivery reaches Delaney but the defender cannot get any direction on his near-post header. Lively stuff from the visitors.
This is more like it. Guzan is called to make a save at last, going down well to keep out an effort from Puncheon. Decent save.
Palace go on the front foot right away as Bannan's cross to Jerome is intercepted by Matthew Lowton. Solid defending from the full-back on that occasion.
Off we go again in the second half. No changes made by either side.
That was a dire half of football, in all fairness. That chance for Kozak in stoppage time was the best moment in the match by a long distance. Both teams appear devoid of quality in the final third but we shall see if the second half changes things for the better.
45' + 2'
El Ahmadi's shot from long range is blocked behind for a corner. And that is so close to the opening goal as Albrighton's delivery to the far post reaches Kozak, whose header from six yards out is blocked by Adrian Mariappa. That's the last action of the half, though, as the half-time whistle is blown.
45' + 1'
Into two minutes of stoppage time. Palace have a chance to counterattack through Bannan but his pass to Jerome pushes the England striker wide allowing Villa to regroup and make the clearance.
Delph has a pop from a long way out but that one sails into the stands. Awful attempt.
Bolasie wins a corner for Palace after his cross is put behind by a Villa defender. The French winger takes the corner but it is headed clear comfortably by the home side.
Villa have a free-kick from around 45-yards and Albrighton takes. The set-piece is headed on by Kozak straight to Speroni, who gathers easily.
Yellow Card Barry Bannan
Barry Bannan is the first Palace player into the book for kicking the ball away in frustration after being flagged offside.
Yellow Card Nathan Baker
Tempers flare after Baker goes through Jerome a bit forcefully and the defender goes into the book for his trouble.
Another lengthy stoppage and this time its Baker, who needs treatment after getting in a tangle with Ward.
Kozak goes down after an aerial challenge from Mile Jedinak. The striker needs a spot of treatment but he is OK to continue.
This game desperately needs a goal. Luna almost plays Nathan Baker into trouble with an overhit backpass but the England defender keeps his wits about him to make a clearance with Cameron Jerome breathing down his neck.
Agbonlahor looks to play in Kozak with a first-time pass but the Czech forward had strayed into an offside position.
Albrighton has all the time in the world to pick out a team-mate with a cross into the box, but he manages to pick out Julian Speroni. Poor from the winger.
Kozak flicks on a long ball on to the path of Agbonlahor, whose cut back from the left is cleared behind for a corner by Gabbidon. Albrighton's subsequent set-piece is defended comfortably by the visitors.
Delph with another cross from the left but Palace deal with it again. All pretty tame, so far.
Gabbidon nearly plays his side in trouble as he slips while attempting a clearance. Luna has a chance to cross from the left but his ball is cleared by the Palace defence.
Puncheon takes aim from long range but his effort lacks power and is easily gathered by Guzan.
Libor Kozak is brought down by Danny Gabbidon and Villa have a free kick in a decent area. Albrighton's set-piece is headed away by Delaney and Palace can breathe again.
Karim El Ahmadi gets a stern warning from referee Howard Webb for a late sliding challenge on Jonathan Parr. The Moroccan midfielder was a little fortunate not to go into the book there.
Bolasie takes on Antonio Luna on the right flank but he over-runs the ball over the line. Goal kick.
Villa with the majority of the possession so far but they are going nowhere with it as Palace defend in numbers.
Joel Ward is alert to win the ball back off Agbonlahor after the England striker had exchanged passes with Andreas Weimann.
Palace are on their guard and Marc Albrighton's corner comes to nothing. The visitors mount a swift counter-attack through Jason Puncheon. The winger's far-post cross reaches Bolasie, who heads down tamely straight at Brad Guzan.
Villa pass the ball around crisply in the opening exchanges. So far, so good for them in that respect. Fabian Delph has a chance to fire in a cross from the left, which Damien Delaney does well to defend. First corner of the match for the home side.
Aston Villa get the ball rolling and we are underway at Villa Park.
Crystal Palace: Speroni; Mariappa, Gabbidon, Delaney, Parr; Puncheon, Ward, Jedinak, Bannan; Bolasie, Jerome. Subs: Price, Boateng, Moxey, Campana, Phillips, Jonathan Williams, Gayle.
Aston Villa: Guzan; Lowton, Clark, Baker, Luna; El Ahmadi, Delph; Albrighton, Weimann, Agbonlahor; Kozak. Subs: Steer, Bacuna, Sylla, Tonev, Helenius, Bowery, Gardner.
TEAM NEWS: Villa midfielder Ashley Westwood misses out through suspension but Gabriel Agbonlahor returns from a one-match ban, while Yannick Bolasie starts in place of the suspended Marouane Chamakh for Palace.
Palace boss Tony Pulis will look for a response from his side after they were crushed at home by Newcastle United at the weekend. A win for the visitors could see them climb out of the relegation zone for the first time since September.
Villa come into this Boxing Day encounter on the back of three successive defeats that have seen them slump to 13th in the league table, just six points above the relegation zone. Of particular concern to manager Paul Lambert is the lack of goals in the side: the Villans have found the net just six times at home this season, lower than any other club.
Hello and welcome to live text coverage of the Premier League clash between Aston Villa and Crystal Palace from Villa Park, Birmingham.
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