Revitalised Crystal Palace escaped the Premier League relegation zone for the first time this season after two last-gasp strikes earned a vital 2-1 victory over a stalling Watford last night.
The Eagles were meandering towards defeat following Daryl Janmaat’s first-half goal, only for Tom Cleverley’s red card to open the door for substitute Bakary Sako to level and James McArthur to conjure a late winner.
Palace are now unbeaten in six matches, having lost just once in eight fixtures, and sit 17th. Watford, who have lost three of their last four games after a bright start to the campaign, remain ninth.
“It is a huge three points,” said Palace boss Roy Hodgson. “Where we are in the table every three points is unbelievably worked for. The moment we think our problems are over is the moment our problems will begin.
“We have a mountain to climb and its wonderful to win but we’re still very close to the bottom of the table because we haven’t quite made up from getting zero points from the first seven games.”
Both Palace goals owed much to the tenacity of forward Wilfried Zaha, whose shot was saved by Watford goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes before being pounced upon by Sako, while his cross was steered home by McArthur on 92 minutes.
Burnley, meanwhile, moved into the top four courtesy of a 1-0 win over Stoke at Turf Moor.