Crystal Palace 4-2 Hull City
KEVIN Phillips grabbed a hat-trick as Crystal Palace enjoyed a crucial home win over promotion rivals Hull City.
Glenn Murray had already missed a 29th minute penalty but Phillips showed his strike partner how it was done by converting from 12 yards in first half stoppage time after the Eagles were awarded a second spot-kick.
Two goals in the space of 60 seconds early in the second half by Phillips put the Eagles in command.
Jay Simpson pulled one back in the 73rd minute before Wilfried Zaha restored the three-goal cushion four minutes later.
And even though David Meyler scored in added time for the Tigers, it couldn’t take the gloss off a perfect display by the Eagles.
The first chance fell Palace’s way as Peter Ramage had an early shot scrambled off the line by Ahmed Elmohamady after Tigers keeper David Stockdale made a complete hash of Jacob Butterfield’s free-kick.
Hull’s keeper did well to get a fingertip to Zaha’s dangerous 12th minute delivery but Stockdale was nearly caught out again seconds later when another Zaha cross from the other side beat him before Hull’s defence cleared before Phillips could capitalise.
Jonny Williams saw a 20-yard volley sail off target midway through the first half with Hull still to pose a question at the opposite end.
Palace were awarded a penalty in the 29th minute when Williams was tripped by David Meyler.
Top scorer Murray stepped up to take the spot-kick but Stockdale dived the right way and put it behind with a good save to keep his side on level terms.
Hull came close two minutes before the break when Elmohamady fired just over from a corner but the Eagles were presented with another chance to take the lead from the spot in stoppage time after the linesman flagged for handball in the box by Jack Hobbs.
This time Phillips took the responsibility and although Stockdale did well to get a hand to the ball, it just trickled over the line to ensure the Eagles went in at half-time with their noses in front.
Phillips struck again seven minutes after the restart when he met Zaha’s low cross and although the veteran striker’s connection wasn’t the best, he still did enough to scuff his shot past Stockdale.
And the 39-year-old added a third one minute later with a dipping 20-yard shot took a slight deflection on its way to beating Stockdale to put the outcome beyond all doubt.
Robbie Brady dragged a low shot just wide of Speroni’s far post, while Zaha had a clear penalty claim ignored after being tripped in the area.
Zaha’s low shot from a tight angle was saved by Stockdale after the star winger had beaten the offside trap before bursting into the box.
Hull reduced the deficit on 73 minutes when substitute Simpson met Elmohamady’s cross and beat Speroni with a looping header.
But if the visitors were hoping to produce an unlikely comeback they were made to quickly think again as Zaha played a one-two with Murray before running into the area and burying a low shot beyond Stockdale.
The Hull keeper did well to deny substitute Stephen Dobbie on 87 minutes but it was the Tigers who had the final say in stoppage time as Meyler nodded home Brady’s free-kick.
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Crystal Palace: Speroni, Dikgacoi, Ramage, Delaney, Moxey, Jedinak, Butterfield (Dobbie 78), Zaha, Phillips (Bolasie 73), Williams (Parr 65), Murray. Subs not used: Price, Marrow, Wilbraham, Moritz. Att: 16,230.