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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 18 December, 2018
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Ayew strike rescues a point for Swansea while Rafa's Magpies beat Hammers in London

Elsewhere Stoke eased pressure on Mark Hughes with a win, while Swansea’s battle with Crystal Palace ended all square.

Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion - Premier League - Bet365 Stadium Ramadan Sobhi celebrates scoring Stoke's third goal. Source: Dave Thompson

STOKE CITY SURVIVED some nervy moments as they eased the pressure on manager Mark Hughes with a 3-1 victory over fellow strugglers West Brom at the bet365 Stadium.

After a run of one win in eight Premier League matches and three successive losses, another defeat on Saturday would have seen Stoke spend Christmas Day in the bottom three.

Hughes played down the severity of the Potters’ circumstances in his pre-match news conference but will no doubt be relieved to have seen his team get back to winning ways, while Alan Pardew’s search for a first success at the West Brom helm continues.

Meanwhile Pascal Gross’ first goal in seven games was enough for Brighton and Hove Albion to edge past Watford 1-0 and make a welcome return to winning ways. Chris Hughton’s side last tasted victory against Swansea on November 4 and have endured a difficult spell since then.

Brighton & Hove Albion v Watford - Premier League - AMEX Stadium Tomer Hemed takes a shot at goal. Source: Gareth Fuller

Gross’ fourth goal of the campaign – and his first since the 2-2 draw with Stoke City last month – put an end to that run, however, in what was a game that the Seagulls dominated for long periods.

The German had come closest to breaking the deadlock earlier with a fizzing effort, but he eventually got his name on the scoresheet with a low drive from the edge of the penalty area, which was helped on its way by an insipid attempted save by Heurelho Gomes.

Watford – missing the spark of suspended duo Abdoulaye Doucoure and Troy Deeney – struggled badly and scarcely threatened a Brighton backline, which included Premier League debutant Connor Goldson.

They will need to pick themselves up for the visit of Leicester City on Tuesday as they attempt to halt a run of four straight Premier League defeats.

Elsewhere Laurent Depoitre cancelled out Charlie Austin’s header as Huddersfield Town fought back to earn a 1-1 Premier League draw at Southampton on Saturday.

Austin continued his recent good run of form with his fifth goal in seven appearances – and fifth in his last eight outings against the Terriers – but the striker could face retrospective action from the Football Association for a late challenge on visiting goalkeeper Jonas Lossl.

Southampton v Huddersfield Town - Premier League - St Mary's Charlie Austin gave Southampton the lead on Saturday. Source: Adam Davy

Having nodded the Saints ahead midway through the first half, Austin was perhaps fortunate to escape punishment for drawing blood from Lossl’s nose by leaving his foot in as the Dane gathered a throughball.

Southampton boss Mauricio Pellegrino invited speculation surrounding Virgil van Dijk’s future by leaving the Netherlands defender out with the January transfer window looming and neither Wesley Hoedt or Maya Yoshida were close enough to Depoitre as he headed a second-half equaliser.

Depoitre’s intervention extended the Saints’ run without a clean sheet to 10 league games and it proved enough for the visitors to claim a valuable point, despite Yoshida giving them a scare by heading against the post in stoppage time.

Christian Atsu was on song to help Newcastle United to a 3-2 win over West Ham United at the London Stadium.

Atsu scored a goal and created an assist for Senegal’s Mohamed Diame. While his compatriot Andre Ayew made up for his penalty miss with an effort of his own, which, eventually, was not enough as David Moyes’ side were unable to stretch their unbeaten run to four games.

The Hammers went ahead in the sixth minute through Marco Arnautovic after an error from Henri Saviet.

West Ham United v Newcastle United - Premier League - London Stadium Marko Arnautovic scored his side's first goal. Source: Scott Heavey

Four minutes later, the French midfielder made amend for his mistake with a brilliantly-taken freekick as the two sides went into the break levelled. In the 53rd minute, Diame scored the second for the Magpies against his former side, all thanks to the brilliance of Atsu.

The Ghana winger mesmerised his way past West Ham right-back Pablo Zabaleta before laying for the midfielder to give the visitors the lead for the first time in the encounter.

The former Chelsea man soon got a goal of his – coming after Ayew saw his effort from 12 yards saved by Newcastle’s Rob Elliot.

Atsu showed good understanding with Joselu before slotting home to make it 3-1 in the 61st minute. Afterwards, Ayew redeemed himself from a rebound as the match ended 3-2.

Finally, Jordan Ayew rescued a 1-1 draw for Swansea City against Crystal Palace in their first match since the sacking of Paul Clement, but the Welsh club will still spend Christmas at the foot of the Premier League table.

Clement was removed this week after picking up just 12 points from Swansea’s opening 18 matches of the season, with club legend Leon Britton placed in caretaker charge for the visit of Palace, who have hauled themselves out of the drop zone since the appointment of Roy Hodgson.

Swansea City v Crystal Palace - Premier League - Liberty Stadium Jordan Ayew scored a late leveller for Swansea. Source: David Davies

While Swansea’s impotent attack rarely showed any signs of life, they had – after conceding seven goals in their last two matches – looked defensively solid until Luka Milivojevic fired Palace in front from the spot.

Federico Fernandez’s outstretched leg caught Ruben Loftus-Cheek, allowing Milivojevic to score his fifth goal for the club.

However, substitute Ayew arrowed in the leveller from outside the box 13 minutes from time to salvage a point from a fixture the Swans could really have done with winning.

The result sees Palace drop to 16th, while Swansea sit four points from safety ahead of trips to Liverpool and Watford.

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