Palace grab late lev­eller to rock Bilic

Sunday Independent (Ireland) - Sport - - SOCCER -

SLAVEN Bilic’s do-or-die week ended in dis­ap­point­ment as Wil­fried Zaha’s 97th-minute equaliser earned Crys­tal Palace a draw at home to fel­low strug­glers West Ham.

Bilic had ad­mit­ted this was an­other crunch few days for his fu­ture as man­ager and the vis­i­tors looked on course for a morale-boost­ing win when Javier Her­nan­dez and An­dre Ayew put them two up at Sel­hurst Park.

But Palace came roar­ing back in the sec­ond half as Luka Milivo­je­vic’s penalty and a stop­page-time strike from Zaha earned Roy Hodg­son’s men a dra­matic point.

Be­fore the game, Hodg­son (pic­tured) ad­mit­ted Palace must re­in­force their squad in the Jan­uary trans­fer win­dow to stand the best chance of Premier League sur­vival.

Asked if the 4-1 Bris­tol City de­feat in the League Cup un­der­scored the need to im­prove the squad, Hodg­son replied: “I think the only hon­est and fair an­swer to that is yes, it does. I think we have got a group of play­ers here who will be good enough to keep us in the league if we can keep performing and use these 29 games to the best of our ad­van­tage.

“But to re­ally be sure that we will give our­selves a chance, we cer­tainly do need some re­in­force­ments, be­cause the squad doesn’t go down any­where near far enough in my opinion to give me the type of op­tions I would like when it comes to put­ting a team on the field.

“It’s all very well hav­ing the same team play­ing in two matches and do­ing pretty well in those two matches, but that can’t carry on for 29 matches.”

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