Jordan Ayew’s sensational 90th-minute winner will “live long in the memory”, says manager Roy Hodgson after his Crystal Palace side came from behind to beat West Ham at Selhurst Park.
Ayew danced through the Hammers defence on the edge of the box and then brilliantly beat goalkeeper Roberto with a calm chip to claim the three points.
He also set-up Cheikhou Kouyate with a knock-down for Palace’s equaliser, as the midfielder swept home a volley from seven yards to cancel out Robert Snodgrass’ opener.
“It was a fantastic effort,” Hodgson said.
“I thought Jordan did ever so well to set up the first goal.
“The second was one of those wonderful individual efforts that will live long in the memory and get lots of airings on TV.
“He deserves that – it’s a fine reward for his performance today and this season so far.”
The win takes Palace up to eighth in the Premier League table but West Ham fall to 17th, just a point above the relegation zone as pressure increases again on manager Manuel Pellegrini.
Ghanaian Ayew unsurprisingly said afterwards his goal was one of the best he has scored in his career.
He drove in from the right wing, beat Declan Rice with a drag-back and dribbled around two more defenders before showing brilliant composure to send Selhurst Park delirious.
A dreary first half did not hint at what was to come later, but the winner was deserved reward for Palace’s second-half performance.
Ayew and Luka Milivojevic had both gone close before Snodgrass’ curled the opener inside the far post against the run of play.
That said, the Scotland international could have scored again moments before Ayew’s goal if not for an excellent block from Jairo Riedewald.
Palace have rarely grabbed the headlines this season but they now go into the second half of the season with 26 points – just three off the top six – and have a chance to secure just a second top-10 Premier League finish.
When Snodgrass put West Ham in front, the Hammers were en route to a second successive Premier League win which would have moved them well clear of the drop zone.
They have had 12 days without a match since their win at Southampton but have followed those three points with defeat – as they did when they beat Chelsea in November.
Pellegrini was reportedly facing the sack had his side lost at Southampton and will have to face more questions about his position after this defeat.
They only had two shots on target in the 90 minutes and will wonder how Ayew was able to beat so many defenders for the winner.
The Hammers have a difficult game against Leicester at London Stadium on Saturday before they host Bournemouth on New Year’s Day.
“We need to recover as soon as we can,” said Pellegrini, whose side have only won twice at home this season.
“We need to play our home game where we are not having good results – we have two games in a row there and I hope we start winning.”
The only negatives for Palace were further additions to their growing injury list.
The Eagles were already without five first-team players – Scott Dann, Gary Cahill, Joel Ward, Andros Townsend and Jeffrey Schlupp – before striker Christian Benteke was ruled out of this game with a muscle injury that Hodgson said would sideline the Belgian a “few weeks”.
Full-back Patrick van Aanholt was then substituted in the second half after pulling up with what looked to be a hamstring injury.
Hodgson said he will try to sign “a few” players in January to bolster their squad.
Both sides are back in action in two days time. Crystal Palace travel to Southampton on 28 December (15:00 GMT kick-off) while West Ham host Leicester later the same day (17:30).