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Tom Ince and Joe Ledley marked their Crystal Palace debuts by both scoring in their new club's 3-1 win over West Bromwich Albion on Saturday.
The pair arrived at Palace on transfer-deadline day from Blackpool and Celtic respectively, and set about winning over the Selhurst Park faithful in the best possible fashion, with both finding the net in a first half that the hosts dominated.
Ince opened the scoring after a quarter of an hour, combining with Yannick Bolasie before lifting the ball over the advancing Ben Foster. And that lead was doubled 12 minutes later when Ince swung in a corner and Ledley rose unchallenged to power a header into the net from close range.
West Brom substitute - and another debutant - Thievy Bifouma reduced the deficit right at the start of the second half, but Marouane Chamakh's 69th-minute penalty sealed the points for Palace.
Tony Pulis also included Scott Dann for his first start for the Eagles alongside Ince and Ledley but, despite these new additions, it was the visitors who threatened first.
Victor Anichebe latched on to the end of Chris Brunt's pass in the sixth minute before sending a tame effort into the arms of Julian Speroni.
Kagisho Dikgacoi went close for Pulis’ side three minutes later, but Youssouf Mulumbu was perfectly stationed on the post to clear his effort off the line with his chest.
The London club were not to be denied for long, though, Ince putting them in front in the 15th minute as he deftly clipped the ball beyond Foster after being played in by Bolasie.
Ince then turned provider 12 minutes later, curling in a corner from the right that the unmarked Ledley met with a thumping header from six yards.
Pepe Mel made a double change at half-time, bringing on Bifouma and Scott Sinclair, and that decision paid immediate dividends as the former exchanged passes with Anichebe and swept the ball beyond Speroni within a minute of the restart.
Speroni brilliantly denied Mel’s side an equaliser midway through the second half, first tipping James Morrison's rasping effort behind before then denying Sinclair from close range from the ensuing corner.
Those saves proved especially valuable three minutes later when Chamakh raced away from the West Brom defence and was brought down by Foster, before picking himself up and tucking away the spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner.
The home side were given a further boost with the introduction of last season's top scorer Glenn Murray off the bench after a long absence with a serious knee ligament injury
Palace comfortably saw out the contest to make it 16 points from seven home matches under Pulis, while the West Midlands’ side dropped into the bottom three.
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis: "I was really pleased with the three [new signings]. It's been really difficult this week as the lads have done so well since I've been here - to leave three of the lads out was difficult. If we are going to stay in the Premier League, it'll be the group of players. It won't just be the 11 out there, it'll be the whole group of players and they've been fantastic.
"I was really pleased to see [Ince] score that. It was a striker's goal. He had a fantastic game along with the rest of them. I was pleased but the biggest thing about Tom was actually his work and the way he did all the unglamorous stuff that good players do.
“The two teams had a go. It was windy and the pitch was dried out because of the wind, so it was a bit bobbly. But you can't criticise both teams trying to win the game today.
"We told [Glenn Murray] to keep warming up every 15 minutes so that kept the crowd going. But they don't need a lot to keep themselves going, this lot. They've been absolutely wonderful for us."
West Brom head coach Pepe Mel: "I'm extremely angry. In the first half we really did gift it to Crystal Palace, the first goal was from a second ball and the second goal came from a corner.
"I really would like to know [why we started so slowly] but if we had played like we did in the second half we would have three more points right now. In the previous piece of play Speroni made a really great save and that would have made it 2-2 so the penalty decision really did kill us off.”
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|08 Mar 2014||v Southampton (H)|
|22 Feb 2014||v Man Utd (H)|
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|19 Apr 2014||v West Ham (A)|