Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic scored a first-half penalty on his 100th appearance for the club before Andros Townsend sealed the win for Roy Hodgson’s side over Norwich.

Serbia international Milivojevic struck confidently into the top corner after 21 minutes after Norwich defender Ibrahim Amadou fouled James McArthur.

Substitute Townsend then finished neatly in the bottom corner in second-half injury time after good work by Wilfried Zaha.

In a lively encounter, the hosts almost led after two minutes, but Zaha’s curling shot narrowly missed the target, while Jordan Ayew forced the visitors’ debutant goalkeeper Ralf Fahrmann into action.

Schalke loanee Fahrmann – in for injured first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul – was himself replaced by fellow debutant Michael McGovern following Milivojevic’s penalty as Norwich’s injury problems continued to mount.

The visitors ended the first half in the ascendancy, with Emiliano Buendia drawing a fine save from Vicente Guaita. But they struggled to impose themselves after the interval and fell to a fourth defeat in five matches.

Meanwhile, victory saw Hodgson’s Palace equal their Premier League record of six unbeaten home matches.

Fortress Selhurst?

Palace’s unbeaten top-flight home run stretches back to April, when they lost to eventual champions Manchester City.

Their home record would have been even better if Wolves had not scored a 95th-minute equaliser last weekend, but the reasons for their nonetheless impressive home run were evident once more in this astute victory.

Although Palace had scored the joint-fewest Premier League goals this season prior to kick-off, their steely, regimented defence has conceded just once in four home games.

Martin Kelly came in for the injured Mamadou Sakho, and his excellent sliding block to deny Todd Cantwell at a crucial stage of the match – as Norwich began to dictate the play – epitomised the defensive platform from which Hodgson’s side are able to go and win matches.

Zaha, oozing confidence, may have scored just once in his past 19 home league games, but he played a notable part in this win, which takes Palace up three places to ninth in the table.

The Ivory Coast international cut inside and found McArthur before the foul that rewarded Palace for their early dominance with a spot-kick. The tricky winger later wriggled free of his marker to set up Townsend in the closing stages as the substitute calmed the home fans’ nerves following last week’s late sucker-punch.

Questions undoubtedly remain over Palace’s profligacy, as McArthur, Patrick van Aanholt and Zaha all blazed over the bar when it good positions during the second half. McArthur and Milivojevic join Ayew and van Aanholt as their side’s only league scorers this term – but, with their sturdy defence, the Eagles will fancy their chances against anyone at Selhurst this season.

Injury-struck Canaries stutter

Life had not become any easier for Daniel Farke following his side’s 2-0 defeat at Burnley last weekend, as first-choice goalkeeper Krul and captain Alexander Tettey joined Norwich’s already lengthy injury list this week.

Unable to rediscover the level of performance that saw them stun Manchester City two weeks ago, the Canaries struggled with the challenge posed by a trip to Turf Moor and it was a similar story at Selhurst Park.

Second best for much of the opening half hour, Farke’s visitors closed out the first half with a breathless spell that at its peak saw Buendia force Guaita into a fine save.

The increasing influence of attacking trio Buendia, Cantwell and Marco Stiepermann temporarily flipped the momentum – but the visitors were ultimately unable to capitalise.

In sharp contrast to the hosts’ solidity, last season’s Championship winners have conceded at least twice in six of their opening seven fixtures and can ill afford to be so wasteful.

Teemu Pukki, kept quiet by Palace pair Kelly and Gary Cahill, has won his side five points with his goals this season but cannot be expected to deliver in every game as sides begin to pay the Finnish striker special attention following his electric start in the top-flight.

While Farke did not want to blame Norwich’s “unlucky” injury situation, he will be keen to have bodies back for the arrival of fellow promoted side Aston Villa next Saturday.



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