Here's Alfie Davis' regular look back at the previous performance, as Palace break Sunderland hearts in the last knockings of the tie.
Buoyed by successive victories, the Eagles travelled to Wearside, having scored 6 goals across the two games. The absence of Wilfried Zaha saw Jason Puncheon slot into the right midfield position, as Yohan Cabaye made his return to the starting eleven. In addition, sidelined captain Scott Dann saw James Tomkins and Damien Delaney as the centre back partnership.
Palace took the initiative and looked the more likely side to score in what were relatively tame opening exchanges. Utilising pace on the break, the away team managed to forge chances, Puncheon with an effort in particular, but nothing that especially troubled young keeper Jordan Pickford in the home net. Surprisingly however, it was the Black Cats who opened the scoring, as Joe Ledley gifted the opposition an opening, only for Jermaine Defoe to slot the ball into the Palace net. Given the run of play, Sunderland were fortunate to be in front, and went into the break with the lead.
Into the second half, Palace were forced to attack further, falling into the hands of the home side who doubled their lead despite Steve Mandanda's fine attempts to keep the disadvantage to one goal. Palace needed a prompt response, and this came almost immediately as Damien Delaney's long ball fell to Ledley, whose deflected effort found its way into the net. Nerves began to set in for the home side, and Palace continue to pile on the pressure. Zeki Fryers, making his first senior league appearance this season, came off the bench and whipped in an exquisite ball for James McArthur to find space in between the Sunderland defenders and level the scores.
Following McArthur’s equaliser, an away win looked the more likely result. With Palace increasingly upping the ante, the home side eventually cracked. Substitute Chung-yong Lee's only touch of the game was delivering a free-kick in the dying embers of the game; foolishly, Sunderland opted to mark zonally, leaving Christian Benteke unmarked. This allowed him the space to use his forward momentum to overpower the defender and make the ball his - leaping like a salmon to give Palace their third successive victory.
Pardew’s substitutions paid dividends, as both Fryers and Lee contributed from the offset with their assists. Given the balance of play, Palace seemed to deserve the victory and posed more of an attacking threat throughout the match. Nevertheless, careless mistakes and a lack of focus meant two goals were conceded, taking our total to 4 goals in 3 games. Conversely, when compared with 10 goals scored in 3 games, our side looks well on track for a successful season.