Crystal Palace 1 Burnley 0: Bakary Sako with the only goal of game to sink Burnley as Palace head towards safety

CRYSTAL PALACE soared to their highest League position of the season and are now only outside of the top ten on goal difference.

Roy Hodgson’s team have now lost just one of their last 12 League games after spending the first three months rooted to the foot of the tale.

They took the lead in the 20th minute when Bakary Sako cut inside Phil Bardsley and beat the unsighted Nick Pope with a low shot through the legs of James Tarkowski.

In only his second Premier League start of the season, the Malian international was clearly out to make the most of his rare opportunity.

He was convinced he should have had an 11th minute penalty when he was sent crashing by Tarkoswki’s risky challenge which appeared to take out both man and ball at pretty much the same time.

And his low cross into the danger zone caused further panic in the Burnley defence before Pope and Tarkoswki managed to scramble the ball away from the lurking Wilfried Zaha.

Christian Benteke was fractionally off target with a towering header from Luka Milivojevic’s 28th minute corner as Palace continued to dominate.

Burnley, without a win in their previous six games, were offering precious little threat of their own and were clearly missing record signing Chris Wood up front.

They were fortunate to escape further punishment when Charlie Taylor’s weak header was intercepted by Zaha and it required a brilliant last-ditch clearance by Ben Mee to prevent James McArthur from converting.

Benteke’s flick from a Patrick van Aanholt shot was clawed away by Pope before Sako came within inches of doubling Palace’s advantage with a vicious volley across the face of goal just before half-time.

The visitors briefly rallied after the break, with Ashley Barnes and Sam Vokes both heading narrowly wide.

But it was never going to be enough to deny Palace another priceless three points as they continue to edge their way to safety.

Palace forward Bakary Sako: "I think we should have won by two or three but we did well to keep a clean sheet.

"I'm back in shape after injury and trying to give my best, the manager has confidence in me and I'm trying to give back.

"I'm definitely claiming the goal, that's mine.

"We should have killed the game but the back four did brilliantly, the manager, since he's been here, he's talked about team spirit has to be 100% and we are trying to do that."” target=”_blank” title=”Click to share on Twitter

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