A close to full strength Palace side took on Aldershot on a cloudy summer’s with Kagisho Dikgacoi returning to the squad for his first action of pre-season.
A quiet opening was notable for Jermaine Easter’s bright movement, although the Palace forward could have done better early on when he fired wide despite being well placed. Good link up play between Easter and Aaron Wilbraham almost gave the Eagles an early chance, with both Jose Baxter and Easter firing drives past the far post in the first 15 minutes.
Down the other end Aldershot served notice of their intent with a half-chance from a corner and a neat passing move than enabled Aaron Martin to show his quality with an excellent sliding tackle.
Shots’ striker Michael Rankine then almost made his mark on the game with a clever turn inside McCarthy and his shot flew wide before Palace resumed control. Joel Ward had impressed early on down the right for Dougie Freedman’s side and he almost created the first goal, his deep cross punched goal-wards by Jamie Young but brilliantly cleared by Ben Herd.
Easter came close again, his chip not high enough to trouble Young, before Palace took the lead. A deep corner was only half cleared and Stuart O’Keefe arrowed a volley into the top corner from 20 yards to send the traveling fans into raptures.
It was almost two moments later when a lovely one touch move ended with another good Ward cross, this time it fell to Garvan who could only steer his shot into the side netting as the game remained 1-0 going into half-time.
Matt Parsons replaced Dikgacoi as the game entered the second half but it was the home side’s changes that almost made the difference - Craig Reid curling a free-kick from 18 yards onto the post as Aldershot threatened the equaliser.
Baxter and Easter then linked well as Palace broke swiftly but the latter’s shot flew wide as the gap between the two sides remained at one. Dougie Freedman introduced Glenn Murray, Mile Jedinak and Bayan Fenwick as Palace went in search of more goals as the game entered the last half an hour with Aldershot threatening on the break as the second half stalemate continued.
With the home side on top as Palace creating little of note Freedman turned to his bench once more, introducing Wilfried Zaha, Alex Wynter
, Thomas Diaz, Peter Ramage and David Wright as most of the squad enjoyed a run out.
Fenwick almost made his mark on the game with a dipping volley that Young dealt with well and then a teasing floated cross that Murray was inches away from nodding home. Zaha was the next to threaten, driving off the left wing and firing his shot low and hard, but his effort was well beaten out by Young.
It wasn’t long though before Zaha had his goal. Good work but substitute Kwesi Appiah found Murray whose clever lay-off fell perfectly for the onrushing striker, who jinked goal-wards before burying a low finish to extend Palace’s lead.
That was to be that as the Eagles recorded their third pre-season victory thanks to goals from O’Keefe and Zaha, with the squad set to fly out to Spain to continue their preparations tomorrow (Sunday 29th July).
Palace XI: Price, Ward (Wynter), McCarthy (Diaz), Martin (Ramage), Moxey (Zaha), Baxter (Appiah), O’Keefe (Parsons), Dikgacoi (Wright), Garvan (Jedinak), Easter (Murray), Wilbraham (Fenwick)
Att: 1,356 (525)