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"You don't win matches like that every day": Bob Bradley's first win as Swansea coach was a 5-4 thriller

Swansea's 5-4 win over Crystal Palace is Bob Bradley's first victory as a head coach in EPL.

Christopher Lee/Getty Images

Bob Bradley will be a relieved man after watching his struggling Swans make every effort to lose at home to Crystal Palace, before tilting a helter-skelter match their way in stoppage time.

History will make note that Swansea City's 5-4 win over struggling Palace on November 26, 2016, was the first time an American head coach had guided a team to victory in England's Premier League. Bradley will hope history does not have opportunity to dwell on the milestone: Swansea needs a few more wins before its current season - and its coach's tenure - can be deemed anything approaching a success.

Nonetheless, Bradley will be pleased to have won a match that was effectively a playoff for the title of "EPL manager most likely to be sacked next". Alan Pardew's Crystal Palace has the worst record in English professional league football in this calendar year. Bradley only took charge of Swansea in October; his task is to pilot the club away from relegation trouble, but his first five games in charge had seen the team sink to the bottom of the table.

Both sides urgently needed a win, and both tried to get it in the haphazard manner one might expect of teams that have not been very good for quite some time. Palace opened the scoring through Wilfried Zaha in the 19th minute; Gylfi Sigurdsson tied things up in the 36th with a characteristically memorable free kick: 1-1 at half-time offered little clue as to what was to follow.

The catalyst for change in the game was Fernando Llorente's arrival in the 66th minute, subbing in for Swansea's Wayne Routledge. Almost immediately, the veteran Spaniard helped create a go-ahead goal for the Swans: Leroy Fer tapped in after Llorente's header was cleared off the line. Two minutes later, Fer knocked in another bobbling ball from close range.

At 3-1 with 20 minutes to play, Bradley could start thinking about three points. But Swansea made a hash of defending a corner and James Tomkins trimmed the home team's lead to 3-2 in the 75th minute.

Next, a freakish own-goal sparked the scoring frenzy that would define the match. In the 82nd minute, a cross from Zaha was partially intercepted by Jack Cork - who managed a looping, back-to-goal header that beat his 'keeper and handed Palace an equalizer. Two minutes later, another poorly-defended corner handed Christian Benteke Palace's fourth, and Swansea seemed destined to extend a winless streak in EPL that stretched back to the opening day of the season.

Llorente, however, had other ideas. Abetted by a lengthy period of stoppage time (Palace's Connor Wickham was injured early in the second half, forcing a significant break in play), Llorente twice found himself with the ball in front of goal - and twice put it in the net. His 91st-minute equalizer was followed by a 93rd-minute winner, and Swansea claimed a win that had seemed out of reach less than 10 minutes before Llorente's intervention.

In his first EPL post-match press conference as the coach of the winning team, Bob Bradley's major concession to celebration was the slightest hint of a flourish as he opened a bottle of water before the first question was asked. No coach plans to win a game by the odd goal in nine, and four goals conceded at home to a slumping opponent will be as concerning as the club's first league win since August was uplifting.

One win every three months will not be sufficient to keep Swansea in the Premier League. The Swans are no longer bottom of the table: they are merely second-from-bottom. For Bradley and his team, the win over Palace was important, but it must be followed by more (less precarious) wins if it is to prove a turning point. The first American manager to win a game in the EPL is well aware that his job - and his team - will not be safe if more league points don't follow quickly:

Today's got to be something that we can enjoy, bit it can't be something that we just take the good part without looking a little deeper - because you don't win matches like that every day.