Connor Wickham scored his first goal in more than two years as Crystal Palace compounded a miserable week for Tottenham with a 2-0 FA Cup fourth-round win at Selhurst Park.
Wickham had not started a match for Palace since November 2016, thanks largely to a long-term knee injury, but he needed just nine minutes to score his first goal in 799 days as a Spurs side featuring eight changes started slowly.
Palace kept the pressure on and won a penalty that ex-Spurs winger Andros Townsend converted after 34 minutes, and when Tottenham won a spot-kick of their own at the other end, Kieran Trippier blasted it well wide.
Spurs improved in the second half with Erik Lamela on the pitch, but in the absence of the injured Dele Alli and Harry Kane, Mauricio Pochettino’s men – who were knocked out of the EFL Cup semi-finals by Chelsea on Thursday – lacked the cutting edge to prise Roy Hodgson’s determined Palace side apart.
Oliver Skipp fired well wide for Spurs before Palace broke down the right and Jeffrey Schlupp ghosted into the danger zone and unleashing a shot that Paulo Gazzaniga palmed away, only for Wickham to bundle in the rebound with his knee.
Things worsened for Spurs when Kyle Walker-Peters used his arm to push a cross away from Wickham’s head, and Townsend rifled the ensuing penalty into the left side of the net.
Three minutes before half-time Patrick van Aanholt kicked out at Juan Foyth in the Palace box, but Trippier hooked his spot-kick comically wide to the left of Speroni’s goal.
Fernando Llorente forced a good save from Speroni with a low shot on the turn as Tottenham made a bright start to the second half, but the Spaniard should have done better when Eric Dier teed him up at close range, and he fired tamely at the goalkeeper.
Lamela and Lucas Moura ensured Tottenham dominated possession and arrived in good positions throughout the second half, but Llorente’s misses were made to feel all the more glaring as the comeback failed to transpire and the absence of Kane loomed large.
What does it mean? Spurs continue to falter
This was Tottenham’s third defeat in four matches, following their EFL Cup exit at the hands of Chelsea and Premier League reverse against Manchester United. Pochettino’s side now face three crucial home games in 12 days to turn their form around.
Townsend torments Tottenham
Andros Townsend has been in great form this season, and he showed his old club what they gave up by selling him three years ago with an all-action performance and a clinical penalty kick.
Sleepy Sanchez lets Eagles in
Tottenham defender Davinson Sanchez failed to track the run of Schlupp when he burst into the box after nine minutes to tee up the goal from where the visitors never recovered.
Palace face Southampton at St Mary’s on Wednesday in the first of three matches against sides in the bottom half of the Premier League table, while Spurs entertain seventh-placed Watford at Wembley.
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