For match photos, scroll to PHOTOSTREAM above left; for match stats, click on the stats tab. Manager reaction below
Tony Pulis' tenure as Crystal Palace manager got off to a losing start with a 1-0 defeat away to Norwich City.
The former Stoke manager, who was announced as Ian Holloway's successor last weekend, saw his men fall to their 10th Barclays Premier League loss of the season after a first-half goal from Gary Hooper. The striker netted his second league goal for the hosts in the 30th minute, as he rounded off a Norwich move involving Wes Hoolahan and Nathan Redmond.
Pulis will take some positives from the defeat, however, after a battling display from his side and he will have an almost immediate chance to seek a response when Palace host West Ham on Tuesday.
The 55-year-old opted to make just two changes from the side that he had watched beat Hull City 1-0 last Saturday, with Yannick Bolasie's suspension seeing Jason Puncheon called in, while Cameron Jerome replaced Dwight Gayle. Injury concerns played into Norwich manager Chris Hughton's selections, with three changes from their 2-1 loss to Newcastle United including a return for Sebastien Bassong, who made his first appearance since 2 November.
The 27-year-old almost marked his comeback with a goal within the first minute, but he headed wide. Seven minutes later, the hosts looked to have taken the advantage when Leroy Fer jumped higher than the Palace defence to head at goal, only to see his effort bounce down off the crossbar and on to the line, with goalline technology showing that it had not crossed.
Hughton's men continued to apply the pressure and they were rewarded after half an hour when Hooper fired into an empty net having got on the end of a pass from Hoolahan.
Palace responded and Barry Bannan was denied an equaliser on two occasions, first by the crossbar and then by Martin Olsson as the visitors entered the break behind.
Pulis's words at half-time clearly had an effect, as his side quickly upped the pressure at the start of the second half, although their chances were few and far between. Hoolahan squandered the best chance of the early part of the second period at the other end, as his weak shot was easily saved.
The hosts were almost made to rue that missed opportunity just a few minutes later, when Bannan's cross skidded across the face of goal before Bassong managed to wrap his foot around the ball to send it over the crossbar.
Palace had another chance to grab an equaliser in the 82nd minute, but substitute Jimmy Kebe's shot grazed the outside of a post.
Norwich manager Chris Hughton: "It is a big win and there is certainly a better feeling going into Wednesday's game at Liverpool. We just have to make sure we have more of them. Tony [Pulis] has set Crystal Palace up to be very difficult to beat and they will cause teams a lot of problems.
"We defended well and restricted them to minimal chances. We struggled to have that sort of dominance we had in the first half going into the second because of the quality and strength Palace have got. It was a good time for us to score, sometimes in these games when you're playing well you need a little bit more than that because you know they're going to come back at you."
“Hooper's a quiet lad but he is a confident lad. He is strong in possession and it is our responsibility to make sure he scores goals and give him opportunities. I was probably more pleased with his overall performance; he produced a really strong performance and battled his cause well."
Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis: "We needed a break in the game and we had the opportunities. Bannan's effort which was headed off the line was a fantastic bit of defending and the Bassong clearance, how he clears it off the line I don't know.
"Cameron Jerome had a good chance, there really are some positives to take out of this, we just needed a break. I am pleased to be back in football. I'm not so sure my wife will be impressed to see me jumping around on the touchline at my age but I am pleased to be back."
"It is very disappointing to come and play as we did today and not get anything out of the game, but that happens in the Premiership. You have to take your chances; the most important thing was the players really bought into what we're trying to do.
"I have always said that our teams should give everything they possibly can for the football club and the people paying to watch them. What we need is to take our chances; if chances come along we have to take them.
"We have to pick points up before the window comes along. Fingers crossed we can wheel and deal and do what I have always had to do, try and get one or two people in who will give us that bit of a lift."
|04 Dec 2013||v Liverpool (A)|
|07 Dec 2013||v West Brom (A)|
|15 Dec 2013||v Swansea (H)|
|21 Dec 2013||v Sunderland (A)|
|26 Dec 2013||v Fulham (H)|
|28 Dec 2013||v Man Utd (H)|