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October 26 2020 1.57am

Gayle at the double

May 7 2016

Dwight Gayle

Dwight Gayle

Crystal Palace confirmed their place in the Premier League for another campaign after a 2-1 win at home to Stoke City.

Dwight Gayle scored twice as the Eagles came from a goal behind to collect a rare 2016 victory as they look to gain some momentum ahead of the FA Cup final.

They started the game well with Yohan Cabaye almost finding the net with a free-kick that took a wicked deflection and flew just past the post. Then Gayle had claims for a penalty turned down after clashing with Phil Bardsley.

But against the run of play, Charlie Adam put the visitors in front by finishing off a nice move between Giannelli Imbula and Marko Arnautovic to slot low into the corner.

Joe Ledley replaced an injured Yohan Cabaye at the break and within two minutes, Palace were back on terms through Gayle. Yannick Bolasie weaved his way into the Potters box, and as the ball fell to Gayle, the striker fired home. Ledley then went off injured himself in the 56th minute, with Jodon Mutch replacing him.

Palace's tails were up and went in search of another goal as Jason Puncheon blasted over and Connor Wickham's header glanced against the upright.

Gayle then gave Palace the lead in the 68th minute with a brilliant 25-yard free-kick that he won himself after being fouled by Ryan Shawcross.

Arnautovic should have netted for Stoke after rounding the onrushing Wayne Hennessey but somehow shot over the bar with the goal gaping.

Alan Pardew said: "The first half was not our best. It's difficult as we have got one eye on the FA Cup final.

"We needed to make sure we got a win for home fans and second half we were great and had numerous chances.

"I said to him [Dwight Gayle] at half-time that I thought he was our best player. He wanted to show me and he couldn't have done anymore. We've lacked a goalscorer this season. He is a force for us."

Stoke manager Mark Hughes said: "Today wasn't quite what we were looking for - a low-quality game in my opinion. It's not the way we anticipated finishing off the season.

"There was no question of our effort today. Just a bit of frustration that we didn't play as well as we are capable of."

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