Crystal Palace struck twice in the second half through forward Wilfried Zaha and left back Tyrick Mitchell to secure a 3-2 win over Aston Villa in an entertaining mid-table Premier League match at Selhurst Park on Sunday.
Defender Mitchell bundled home his first Palace goal in the 84th minute from Eberechi Eze’s mis-hit shot to make it 3-2 after Zaha charged towards the Villa box and blasted an effort which flew in off Ahmed El Mohamady with 15 minutes left.
Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi had made it 2-1 to the visitors in the first half after skipper John McGinn’s side-footed opener was cancelled out by Christian Benteke’s header – the Belgian’s third goal in as many league games.
The result denied Villa a first league double over Palace since the 1980-81 season, when the Birmingham-based side won the top-flight title.
“It’s a dream come true,” Mitchell told Sky Sports. “I was just gambling. I tried to go back post for the first cross and then when it went back out I thought I’d stay around. I just tried to be in the right place.
“I knew it hit my shoulder, for a second I was a bit scared (it would be disallowed). It’s been an amazing season… and I’m buzzing. I didn’t think I would feature this much and I’m just thankful to the manager.
“I’ve learnt a lot, how hard it is in the Premier League week in, week out but I feel I’ve got a lot more confident.”
McGinn said Villa needed to be more “street-wise” and defend better after allowing Palace to seal a come-from-behind win.
“We had control of the game and scored two good goals. We needed to build on that but the second half wasn’t the standards we have set this season so we need to look at it.”
Roy Hodgson’s Palace sit 13th with 44 points, two places behind Villa who have 49. Palace host Arsenal on Wednesday, while Villa travel to Tottenham Hotspur.