A young Palace side emerged victorious against Dulwich Hamlet as three second half goals saw the Eagles record a comfortable victory after Peter Kurucz first half penalty save.
Dougie Freedman’s side started with an attacking quartet of Kieron Cadogan, Ibra Sekajja, Kwesi Appiah and Bayan Fenwick and the youngsters linked-up well in the first ten minutes. Cadogan the first to go close, first with a header after good work from Sekajja and then firing an effort just wide.
Minutes later Fenwick saw an effort cleared off the line after a Palace corner and then began to impose himself on the game down the right. Beating his man with trickery and a burst of pace he reached the by-line only to see a low cross cut out by a last ditch tackle with Appiah waiting to tap home.
Appiah laid in the onrushing Aaron Akuruka only for Phil Wilson to make a good save rushing out from his line and then Dulwich, who had looked threatening on the counter, had a golden chance to take the lead.
Hamlet’s striker Kevin James darting into the box only to see his run thwarted by a late challenge from Michael Chambers and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot. Up stepped Carl Wilson-Dennis who struck his penalty well only to see Kurucz pull off a fantastic diving save, low to his right.
Fenwick was back in the action again as the game went past the hour mark, chipping the ball into the box only for another last ditch challenge to stop Sekajja giving the Eagles the lead. James showed his quality for the home side again with a dangerous set-piece but Palace continued to look the stronger and Appiah nearly made it 1-0 as the game approached half-time, latching onto Cadogan’s clever pass and drawing a good save from Wilson.
The sides went into the break on level terms, with Freedman making nine changes as he introduced a hoard of youngsters and six minutes later saw his young side take the lead. Good work from Gus Sow in midfield put Kieran Woodley free down the right and the young forward hammered a shot into the bottom left corner from the angle of the box.
Hamlet served notice of their threat when Erhan Otzumer, who had impressed on the ball, almost scored a brilliant equaliser – lobbing Kurucz from 30 yards out only to see his effort clip the top of the net.
Hiram Boateng, introduced for Alex Marrow, early in the second half was next to try his luck, a neat curler with his left foot dropping flashing narrowly wide after near build-up play with Reise Allassani.
A pleasant pre-season friendly was suddenly laced with a dose of Palace history. Murmurs of disbelief in the crowd turned to cheers as Freedman appeared in a new Palace kit and brought himself on up front.
Within minutes the 38 year old showed why he’s considered a club legend with a neat turn and a clever chip over the defence for the onrushing Allassani whose effort was well saved by the impressive Wilson.
Allassani had moved inside from the left-wing and with Freedman playing just off him Palace probably looked their most dangerous, neat link up play between the front two allowed Sow to curl an effort narrowly wide, via a deflection.
Jerome Williams’ corner was flicked on and buried by Quade Taylor, returning to his old club, at the back post as the Eagles went 2-0 up and took complete control in the last quarter of an hour.
The youngsters were beginning to take centre stage but there was still time for the old master to roll back the years. Freedman, finding space between Dulwich’s defence and midfield time and again, laying the perfect pass through for Allassani to strike a firm shot into the bottom corner. Palace past finding Palace future in a moment to savour for the 1,312 fans in attendance.
There was still time for Freedman to get his name on the score-sheet but his left-foot effort from the edge of the box cannoned back off the post, momentarily quelling shouts of ‘sign him up’, so the Eagles had to be satisfied with a good workout and a 3-0 victory.