Michael Olise marked his return to Crystal Palace’s starting line-up by scoring the winner in their 3-2 Premier League comeback victory over Sheffield United to ease pressure on Eagles boss Roy Hodgson.
Villarreal loanee Ben Brereton Diaz stunned the home support into silence when he netted the opener inside 21 seconds at Selhurst Park before Olise teed up Eberechi Eze for the equaliser.
James McAtee restored the Blades’ lead before Olise once again set up Eze, who squared things up inside the first half-hour of a frenetic first period to complete his brace, before Olise ensured his side would walk away with all three points after the break.
Anel Ahmedhodzic came close to salvaging a point when he clipped the crossbar late in the second half, but the Premier League bottom side ultimately walked away with nothing to show.
Hodgson’s side came into the contest having won just once in their last 10 league contests, the Palace boss brushing aside suggestions that it was a “must win”, partially pointing once again to the lengthy list of absentees in the first half of the campaign.
His ranks on Tuesday were boosted by the return of Olise, recovered from his second hamstring injury of the season and starting alongside Eze for just the fifth league contest this campaign.
Brereton Diaz opened the scoring following a delivery from Gustavo Hamer and the January signing patiently weaved his way forward from the left before sending his strike into the bottom-right corner, our of reach of the diving Dean Henderson.
The hosts had a handful of chances to reply before Olise added his third assist of the league campaign when his fine delivery from the edge of the area allowed Eze to flick the ball past Ivo Grbic for a 17th-minute equaliser.
United restored their lead three minutes later when McAtee’s effort from distance took a deflection off Marc Guehi, giving Henderson little chance as the ball spun out of his reach.
It was all square again before the half-hour mark, Eze this time taking his time after latching onto Olise’s delivery at the edge of the area, weaving his way to centre and curling a left-footed effort into the top corner.
The second half began with bad news for Chris Wilder, when Grbic’s head collided with Jean-Philippe Mateta as he came out to collect the ball and, following treatment, he was replaced by Wes Foderingham.
Palace, who had settled into the contest, took the lead for the first time in the 67th minute when Mateta’s cross bounced favourably in the direction of Olise, who made it 3-2 with a half-volley.
But those in the stands had barely finished celebrating before witnessing a worrying scene. Olise had gone down and, after consulting physios, was removed after 69 minutes in what Palace fans will pray was a precautionary measure.
A similar sentiment surely extended to Eze, who was pulled less than 10 minutes later following his own consultation.
The Blades came inches away from salvaging a point when Ahmedhodzic clipped the crossbar with a header, Henderson reacting quickly to deny Andre Brooks soon after and neither side could take advantage of 11 minutes of stoppage time.