Roy Hodgson's Crystal Palace side turned out second best in a fiercely contested derby clash against Brighton in the Premier League's early kick-off on Saturday. The former England boss suggested his side had enough control of the game to win but couldn't do enough to create clear-cut chances against a resolute defence.
Glenn Murray capitalised on the windy conditions as James Tomkins failed to correctly judge the flight of the ball. The former Palace man popped up with an excellent volley to open the scoring inside the first 20 minutes.
That goal allowed Brighton to drop deep and dictate the pace of the game which produced the solid backline that Crystal Palace struggled to break down. Hodgson feels his side were hard done by the weather and it made the contest an uphill task for them.
"The first goal comes from a ball in the swirling wind which makes life difficult for James Tomkins, and sets up beautifully for Glenn Murray," Hodgson told the Guardian.
“We did dominate possession, we had a lot of the ball, and came across a packed defence. It wasn’t easy to create clear-cut chances, though we can’t be accused of not trying to," he added.
The Eagles were handed a life-line when Davy Propper tripped Andros Townsend in the box and the home side were awarded a penalty. Luka Milivojevic rarely misses from the spot and he didn't let his side down to level the contest. Hodgson expected his side to go on to win the game but things didn't work out as planned.
"We had high hopes at 1-1, that we would go on to use our possession and territorial advantage to get a second goal. But of course, we found ourselves on the end of a magnificent strike, that turns out to be the winning goal."
Anthony Knockaert got the decisive goal that spoilt the afternoon for Palace and left fans looking ahead to an enticing FA Cup quarter-final clash. Hodgson admitted that safety must come first regardless of how close they come to an unprecedented cup final.
"Our priority is to stay in the Premier League, but if we can get to a cup semi-final that would be a nice thing to do too.”