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Ryan Shawcross grabbed the winner as Stoke City came from behind to beat Crystal Palace 2-1 in Mark Hughes’ first competitive home match in the Barclays Premier League.
Marouane Chamakh had put Palace ahead in his first start for the club, beating Shawcross to the ball to fire home, before Charlie Adam equalised with a smart finish. But it was Shawcross who had the last word, finishing from close-range after Palace had failed to clear from a Stoke corner.
Midfielders Brek Shea, Wilson Palacios and Jamie Ness all missed out through injury for the home side, but Hughes handed a home debut to Erik Pieters, a close-season buy from PSV Eindhoven. Palace, meanwhile, gave a debut to Southampton loanee Jason Puncheon, while former Arsenal striker Chamakh made his first start for the club after coming off the bench last week against Tottenham Hotspur.
The game's first chance fell to Adam, but the Scotland international's drive from outside the area went straight at Julian Speroni. Palace threatened after 16 minutes when Dwight Gayle seized onto a loose ball on the left wing and raced into the Stoke area, but his left-footed shot was saved by Asmir Begovic.
Peter Crouch almost opened the scoring for Stoke when he met Matthew Etherington's dinked left-wing cross at the back post, but his header flew over. After 32 minutes the hosts were made to pay as Palace scored the opener. Shawcross was outmuscled by Chamakh, who finished clinically on his right foot from just inside the area.
Stoke tried to respond immediately through Crouch, but his header from Adam's cross was tipped onto the underside of the crossbar by Speroni, before left-back Dean Moxey nearly put Palace two up with a left-footed drive that flashed wide before the break.
The hosts, though, started the brighter at the start of the second half and their equaliser arrived when Palace failed to deal with a left-wing cross and Crouch, then Jonathan Walters, worked the ball wide to Adam, who finished well. Just four minutes later, Stoke were ahead. Robert Huth did well to charge down a Palace clearance and the ball broke to Shawcross, who slotted home from six yards out.
At the other end, Begovic came to Stoke's rescue with a brilliant save down to his left from Puncheon's drilled effort. As the visitors pushed for a late equaliser, Gayle struck an audacious volley from wide on the right of the area, but it arrowed past a post and the hosts held on for a first win of the season.
Stoke manager Mark Hughes: "We’re going to need the fans this year, because we're going to have days when it doesn’t go the way we hope it will go. The first half wasn’t what we were looking for and we were behind in the game but the second half was excellent and the strength of the crowd behind us spurred us on and we saw the game out quite comfortably I felt.
"This crowd will back you to the hilt. They were excellent. We needed their help at a point in the second half and when we got the one goal they spurred us on to the second. We're going to need them this season and they were there for us today."
"We’re not going to throw things out if they work. Set-play work is a key part of any team’s make up and if you get that right you create chances. I’m not silly enough to say we're not going to throw the ball into the box when it's needed. We've got to get the balance right and that will come from playing week in or week out as a group and we will become better. We’re just a group that’s coming to terms with the way we can play and on other days we will be more fluid and more effective, but we got the job done today and that was the important thing."
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway: "There was a little spell in the game where Stoke scored a couple of goals and we couldn't get back in it, but I thought it was a better performance than last weekend, and I thought the new lads particularly helped the group.
"Chamakh's goal was very pleasing – I know he can score goals and I think he proved he wants to there, but what we have to do is work as hard as we did in the first half all the way throughout the game. Unfortunately the fitness levels showed a little bit.
"We tired, and Stoke got on with it. It was tight and close and I was quite pleased with certain things, but with the first [Stoke] goal, I felt we got it wrong as a group – we didn't get organised. Then for the second one, Chamakh tried to toe-punt it out, they made a tackle and it has rolled straight to them. When you look at those goals, I am disappointed because we played better than that, but that is this level."
VIDEO: Mark Hughes press conference to come
Crystal Palace manager Ian Holloway to come
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