Shot-shy Chamakh heads Palace to win on Pulis home debut
London: Crystal Palace striker Marouane Chamakh ended an 11-game barren streak to help them beat fellow Premier League strugglers West Ham United 1-0 in manager Tony Pulis`s home debut on Tuesday.
Chamakh had not found the net since Palace lost to Stoke City on August 24 and had mustered only three shots on goal in 886 minutes of league football this season, but his glancing header in the first half proved decisive at Selhurst Park.
Former Stoke boss Pulis, who lost his first game in charge at Norwich City on Saturday, has never been relegated in 21 years as a coach and will have relished seeing his new charges claw themselves off the foot of the table.
Palace moved above Sunderland, who play on Wednesday, to 19th on 10 points, three points behind 15th-placed West Ham, who bossed possession and had a Stewart Downing effort harshly disallowed in the second half for a foul in the build-up.
"I was pleased with the result, but as a performance we can do a lot better," Pulis told BT Sport.
"It`s a great start, and it`s very important that we stay as close as we can to the pack, hopefully the (transfer) window opens and we can do some work from there."
West Ham dominated play in the first half but mustered only one shot on target, a clever free kick routine that deserved a better finish than it got from captain Kevin Nolan.
Mark Noble stood over the ball before flicking it over the wall to Nolan, who swivelled on the spot but could only direct his volley straight at Palace keeper Julian Speroni.
The visitors were punished three minutes before the break when Chamakh glanced a header into the far corner.
The Moroccan had garnered a meagre return since his move from Arsenal in the close season, but was clinical as he rose unmarked to direct Barry Bannan`s curling cross home.
Three good chances went begging for Palace just after the break with Jason Puncheon and Cameron Jerome drawing fine saves from West Ham keeper Jussi Jaaskelainen and Kagisho Dikgachoi heading over the bar from a Bannan cross.
West Ham did find the net in the second half when Downing rifled home with a left-footed drive from the edge of the area, but the referee`s whistle had already blown for a push on Chamakh as the initial centre was flung into the box.
Television replays showed the decision was tough on West Ham and that Chamakh himself was fortunate not to give away a penalty as he jostled for position with Joey O`Brien.
It was the manner of the goal, however, that most upset West Ham boss Sam Allardyce.
"We gave a way the most ridiculous goal I have seen in a long time," he said.
"Everybody has a marker, you don`t lose your marker but we did and that`s lost us a game that effectively we shouldn`t have lost."
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