The Cherries' date at Palace ends in defeat
- Roger East
The Cherries’ attempts to better their record points haul in the Premier League bit the dust at Selhurst Park on the final day of the season.
Needing a victory to beat the previous best of 46 – set in 2016/17 – Eddie Howe’s team found the Eagles in inspired form.
And although the Cherries registered a top-flight high of 56 goals scored, it was Palace boss Roy Hodgson who was left to celebrate his 100th win as a Premier League manager.
The Cherries were rocked as the Eagles raced into a 3-0 lead, with Hodgson’s men scoring three times in 14 first-half minutes.
Michy Batshuayi’s double, his first goals at Selhurst Park since signing on loan from Chelsea in January, were added to by an unfortunate own goal from Jack Simpson.
But the deficit was reduced on the stroke of half-time when Jefferson Lerma posted a late contender for goal of the season by netting with a thunderous drive from 25 yards to make it 3-1.
Jordon Ibe’s deflected strike 11 minutes after the break made it 3-2, only for Patrick van Aanholt to restore Palace’s two-goal cushion with a well-taken effort after 65 minutes.
And although Joshua King netted to set up a grandstand finale, Andros Townsend completed the scoring following an electrifying run from Wilfried Zaha 10 minutes from time.
Teenage goalkeeper Mark Travers kept his place as manager Eddie Howe named an unchanged starting line-up for the Cherries’ final game of the season.
Travers played a starring role in the 1-0 win over Tottenham eight days ago, the Irishman’s debut in the Premier League.
The only change to the Cherries’ matchday squad saw Matt Butcher replace Nnamdi Ofoborh among the substitutes.
Palace, 3-2 winners at Cardiff in their penultimate game of the season, drafted in Patrick van Aanholt and Max Meyer, the duo replacing Scott Dann and Jordan Ayew.
Travers was called into action early on, the youngster smothering at the feet of Batshuayi, although the Chelsea loan man was flagged offside.
Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic, the hosts’ leading marksman, then let fly from 25 yards, his venomous strike hitting the outside of the post.
Jordon Ibe forced Eagles goalkeeper Vicente Guaita to parry his cross, the Cherries winger threading the ball through van Aanholt’s legs before whipping it into the danger zone.
And although Ryan Fraser looked well placed to seize on the loose ball, the Scotsman lost his footing at the crucial second.
Joshua King lifted his shot over the crossbar after being picked out by Ibe around 20 yards from goal before Palace broke the deadlock midway through the first half.
Milivojevic and Andros Townsend combined to work the ball to Wilfried Zaha on the right flank and his deflected cross fell to Batshuayi who held off Steve Cook before swivelling and volleying past Travers.
The Eagles doubled their lead in the 32nd minute when Batshuayi finished another incisive move to leave the Cherries facing a mountain to climb.
Zaha was again involved in the build-up when his pass found Aaron Wan-Bissaka whose driven cross into the six-yard box was turned in by Batshuayi.
And it got worse for the visitors just five minutes later when an unfortunate own goal from Simpson saw the Eagles extend their lead.
Zaha, set free inside his own half by James McArthur’s defence-splitting pass, surged into the 18-yard box before shooting straight at Travers.
However, the goalkeeper inadvertently punched the ball at Simpson who was entirely powerless to prevent it from trickling into the back of the net.
The Cherries reduced the arrears in stunning fashion when Lerma’s 35-yard piledriver beat Guaita all ends up and flew into the top corner on the stroke of half-time.
Townsend drew a fine save from Travers at the start of the second half, the goalkeeper acrobatically tipping his angled drive past the upright.
And after Meyer had slipped a pass to McArthur, his shot from just inside the 18-yard box was superbly parried by Travers.
Zaha found the side netting after being teed up Townsend before the Cherries made a further dent into the arrears thanks to Ibe.
Adam Smith traded passes with Fraser down the left flank before his pass found Ibe on the edge of the box, the Londoner’s deflected shot squeezing into the bottom corner.
Ibe, who registered his first Premier League goal since March 2018, went close to adding a second following a sharp turn, only for Guaita to save his resultant shot.
Palace restored their two-goal advantage in the 65th minute when a one-two between van Aanholt and Zaha ended with the Dutchman tucking the ball past Travers from close range.
As the Cherries looked for a way back into the contest, Fraser fired a free-kick into the grateful arms of Guaita before Meyer’s rasping drive flashed past the post at the other end.
The Cherries were handed a lifeline when King stole in at the far post to apply the finishing touch after substitute Chris Mepham had flicked on Fraser’s 73rd-minute corner.
But Zaha proved too hot to handle when he rode several challenges before crossing for Townsend to add Palace’s fifth 10 minutes from time.