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By Nick Wright at Selhurst Park
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Championship: Crystal Palace 4 Burnley 3
Wilfried Zaha fired two superb goals for the second successive match as in-form Crystal Palace came from behind to beat Burnley 4-3 in a scintillating match at Selhurst Park.
Fresh from his match-winning brace four days ago in the Eagles’ 2-1 victory at Wolves, England Under-21 international Zaha put in another sparkling performance in front of a packed crowd in south London.
But Burnley made Palace work for this victory, finding themselves 2-0 up after two goals in three first half minutes from Chris McCann and Martin Paterson.
Zaha grabbed his first shortly before the break, however, and Dougie Freedman’s side - who came from 2-0 down to beat Cardiff City 3-2 in their last home match - started the second half where they left off.
19-year-old Zaha blasted the equaliser before Damien Delaney and Glenn Murray put Palace 4-2 up.
Prolific Burnley striker Charlie Austin powered home his 15th goal of the season to ensure a nervous finale, but Palace held on to secure four successive league wins for the first time since December 2007.
The victory lifts Palace to 4th in the Championship table and extends their remarkable unbeaten run to seven games, of which they have won six.
Eagles boss Freedman made two changes to the side that triumphed at Wolves on Tuesday night.
Kagisho Dikgacoi returned from a muscle strain to replace youngster Jonathan Williams in the starting line-up, while Andre Moritz came in for Owen Garvan.
The hosts had the better of the opening stages, with Zaha, Moritz and Yannick Bolasie all going close.
But Burnley silenced the home crowd with a goal from their first meaningful attack after 26 minutes.
Palace keeper Julian Speroni tipped a curling effort from former West Ham youngster Junior Stanislas onto the post but Burnley midfielder McCann was on hand to poke home the rebound from six yards.
Palace barely had time to draw breath before they found themselves further behind, Clarets’ striker Paterson turning and looping a beautiful shot over Speroni and into the net from the corner of the box.
It was a big set-back for Palace, who had looked far more dangerous than the visitors up until their opener.
But with their superb comebacks against Cardiff and Wolves still fresh in their memory, Palace set about getting back into the game.
Zaha was at the centre of almost every Palace attack, jinking past defenders and bursting into dangerous positions at every opportunity.
After 33 minutes the brilliant winger beat two Burnley defenders and had his shot charged down for a corner.
Minutes later Eagles’ top scorer Murray had a soft penalty appeal turned down as Palace continued to pressurise the visitors.
After 41 minutes they had their breakthrough, Moritz sliding a brilliant through ball to Zaha, who showed strength and composure to hold off Burnley defender Kieran Trippier and beat Grant at his near post.
Zaha’s equaliser arrived just seven minutes after the interval and it was almost a carbon copy of their first, as another well-timed pass from Moritz released Zaha, who cut inside his marker and finished low past Grant.
Burnley looked rattled, and after 71 minutes defender Delaney put Palace 3-2 up with a powerful finish after good work from substitute Williams on the right.
Williams pulled up moments later and made way for Jonathan Parr, but Murray scored their fourth as the young Wales international was still trudging down the tunnel.
Burnley battled back, however, with Austin’s strike making for a nail-biting ending.
But Palace clung on to take all three points.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Blake, Delaney, Ramage, Moxey, Jedinak (c), Dikgacoi, Moritz (Garvan 88), Zaha, Bolasie (Williams 69, Parr 75), Murray. Subs not used: Price, Ward, Goodwillie , Wilbraham.
Burnley: Grant, Trippier, Edgar, Shackell (c), Mee, Marney, McCann (Stewart), Stanislas, Bartley, Paterson (Vokes), Austin. Subs not used: Jensen, Wallace, Mills, Stock, Long.
Referee: Roger East