Football - Albion were flat - Downing

West Brom caretaker head coach Keith Downing was left to reflect on a display which he felt lacked any real spark after the Baggies went out of the FA Cup at home to Crystal Palace.

Dwight Gayle struck the game's crucial goal midway through the first half.

The striker capitalised on a glaring error from Goran Popov as his hacked clearance fell straight to Hiram Boateng, who found Gayle and he simply wrong-footed Ben Foster with a left-footed strike from the edge of the penalty area.

Substitute Marouane Chamakh converted a second goal with the last kick of the game deep into injury time, firing into an empty net.

Barry Bannan and Craig Dawson both hit the woodwork in an evenly-matched first half, before Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni turned in a man of the match performance after the break to deny dominant Albion.

A frustrated Downing said: "At half-time we talked about a lack of intensity to our game, we were a bit disappointing without the ball, we didn't get after people.

"We'd been positive in the last four games and I just felt there was too much caution here, waiting for things to happen.

"We grabbed the game to a certain extent in the second half but with just not enough creativity in the final third."

A crowd of just 12,700 watched the third round tie. Asked whether Albion's lack of a spark was down to the lack of atmosphere, Downing replied "No, I don't think that's a reason or excuse.

"We have to generate our own atmosphere, momentum and pressure.

"I don't think we did enough of that, particularly in the first half."

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