London - Crystal Palace boosted their bid to avoid
relegation from the Premier League as Jason Puncheon's goal clinched a 1-0 win
over Hull on Tuesday.
Palace have steadily improved since Tony
Pulis replaced Ian Holloway as manager in November and Puncheon's first half
winner at Selhurst Park moved the hosts five points clear of the bottom three.
The Eagles' second successive victory also
atoned for a disappointing FA Cup fourth round exit at Championship side Wigan
It was a frustrating evening for Hull, who
finished with 10 men after goalkeeper Allan McGregor was sent off in the final
Irish striker Shane Long, who joined Hull
from West Bromwich Albion earlier this month, formed a new-look £14m
strike-force with fellow January signing Nikica Jelavic, who recently arrived
In contrast to Hull's spending spree, Pulis
was this week forced to deny reports that he was considering quitting over the
club's lack of success in the transfer market since he took over from Holloway.
The former Stoke boss has often spoken of
the need to improve Palace's squad, but the Eagles have yet to add to their
squad so far during the transfer window.
Hull boss Steve Bruce might have felt his
heavy investment would pay immediate dividends as the visitors made a lively
Jelavic almost got on the end of a low
cross but the Croatian couldn't quite stretch to steer the ball home.
Long was next to trouble the Palace
defence, causing a long ball into the penalty area before tumbling under a
challenge from Danny Gabbidon.
Bruce was furious when referee Roger East
waved away Hull's appeals for a penalty.
And Hull's anger increased as Palace took
the lead in the 16th minute when midfielder Puncheon fired home form eight
yards after his initial header hit teammate Marouane Chamakh on the back.
Bruce's team pressed hard for an equaliser
in the second half, with Long and Jelavic both wasting chances before Liam
Rosenior stabbed wide from a golden opportunity.
But Hull were reduced to 10 men when Stuart
O'Keefe caught McGregor with a late tackle, prompting an angry reaction from
After a bout of shoving between the pair,
referee East showed McGregor the red card and with Hull having used all their
substitutes, midfielder Tom Huddlestone had to go in goal.
Even so, Steve Quinn came agonisingly close
to equalising for Hull with virtually the last kick of the game, but his shot