Crystal Palace struck twice in the second half by striker Wilfried Zaha and left-back Tyrick Mitchell to secure a 3-2 victory over Aston Villa in an entertaining Premier League game at Selhurst Park.
Defender Mitchell regrouped the winner in the 84th minute over Eberechi Eze’s cross to make it 3-2, after Zaha made it 2-2, charging towards the Villa area and sending an effort. deviated onto Ahmed El Mohamady 15 minutes from the end.
Villa striker Anwar El-Ghazi made it 2-1 against the visitors in the first half after skipper John McGinn’s opener was called off by Christian Benteke’s header.
The result denied Villa a first league double at Palace since the 1980-81 season, when the Birmingham-based team won the top flight title. Roy Hodgson’s palace is in 13th place with 44 points, two places behind Villa who has 49. The palace hosts Arsenal on Wednesday, while Villa heads to Tottenham Hotspur.
“It’s a dream come true,” Mitchell said on Sky Sports of his goal. “I was just playing. I tried to go back to the first cross and then when he came back I thought I would stick around. I just tried to be in the right place. I knew it was hitting my shoulder, for a second I was a little scared (it would be forbidden).
“It’s been an incredible season… and I’m in full swing. I didn’t think I would present this much and I’m just grateful to the director. I’ve learned a lot, how difficult it is in the Premier League week after week, but I feel a lot more confident.
Roy Hodgson added: “A great day for Tyrick and much appreciated by his teammates, who applauded him on his arrival after he finished speaking to the media. It’s a wonderful time for a player with a very bright future and I hope to see him continue to have a very good career in the Premier League.
Meanwhile, McGinn said Villa needed to be more ‘street-wise’ and defend better after allowing Palace to seal a victory from behind. “We were in control of the game and scored two good goals. We had to build on that, but the second half wasn’t the standards we’ve set this season, so we have to think about it.
“I’m also very disappointed and pissed off,” admitted Dean Smith. “The players are also annoyed and frustrated because they all feel like this is a game we should have won.”
On Jack Grealish, who came off the bench in the 64th minute to little effect, Smith added: “Will he be fit enough for the Euros? Yes, but I don’t choose the team.
Full-back Matty Cash will miss Villa’s last two games of the season with a hamstring injury, but Tyrone Mings is expected to return for Wednesday’s clash with Spurs.