In-form Albion undone by Eagles at The Hawthorns
- Zaha chests down and drills Palace opener (55)
- Townsend adds second with solo run (84)
- Only second home league defeat since October
- Attendance: 24,051
- Albion Star Man: Jonny Evans
ALBION's five-match unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an end as they fell to a 2-0 defeat against Crystal Palace.
Wilfried Zaha's 55th-minute strike proved the difference until Andros Townsend's late solo run and finish wrapped up a game of few chances.
The Baggies suffered only their second league defeat in nine matches at The Hawthorns, winning seven of those stretching back to October.
Tony Pulis' side remain eighth in the table, with 40 points from 27 matches heading into next weekend's showdown at seventh-placed Everton.
Both sides were feeling each other out in the opening 15 minutes or so, with the first clear-cut chance coming shortly after as Chris Brunt nodded Christian Benteke's header off the line from Yohan Cabaye's corner.
Albion enjoyed a couple of half-chances while Ben Foster was not really troubled at the other end during a first half which produced plenty of intrigue but less key moments in either penalty area.
Nacer Chadli fired over what was Albion's second well-worked corner routine of the afternoon soon after the interval.
But it was Palace who broke the deadlock in the 55th minute, Zaha chesting down Cabaye's cross-field pass in the penalty area before drilling low past Foster.
Chadli forced Wayne Hennessey down low before Eagles skipper Jason Puncheon saw an effort deflected off target.
Tony Pulis turned to James McClean, Hal Robson-Kanu and Jonathan Leko off the bench but it was Foster who kept Albion in the match as he rushed off his line to block from Andros Townsend.
And as the Baggies pushed for a leveller in the closing stages, Townsend won possession on the edge of his own area and ran the length of the pitch before firing home to inflict defeat.
Albion: Foster; Dawson, McAuley, Evans, Nyom (Robson-Kanu 71); Livermore, Fletcher (c) (Leko 80); Chadli (McClean 63), Morrison, Brunt; Rondon.
Subs: Myhill; Olsson, Yacob, M Wilson.
Palace: Hennessey, Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt (Schlupp 62), Cabaye (Dann 74), Milivojevic, Zaha (McArthur 86), Puncheon (c), Townsend, Benteke.
BOOKED: Benteke (dissent, 45+1)
Subs: Speroni, Campbell, Sako, Delaney.
Referee: Mike Jones (Cheshire)