James Daly’s stoppage-time equaliser seized a point for Palace’s under-18 side as they got their season underway at Sheffield Wednesday on Saturday afternoon.
Paddy McCarthy’s team looked set to open their U18 Professional Development League campaign with a defeat, but the winger continued his goalscoring form from last season by tucking home a late leveller to hand his side an early-season boost.
The Eagles enjoyed the better of the opening exchanges and Kyle Lynch went close to opening the scoring when he put a volley over the top of the bar when well-placed, but having finished second in the Northern Section the previous season and losing out in the semi-finals Wednesday were made of stern stuff, and soon took control of proceedings.
Jordan Lonchar headed just over before Ben Hughes and Liam Waldock missed the target before half-time, but 10 minutes after the restart they went ahead when a neat cross from the right by Joe West was perfectly placed for Liam Shaw to get away from his marker and direct his header past Oliver Webber.
Palace desperately tried to get back into the game and gave the hosts plenty of nervy moments in the second half, but just as it looked as though they would be making the long journey back to south London pointless, they levelled at the death.
Substitute Courtney Watson picked the ball up on the right flank, and a good run by Jude Russell drew defenders away from him. A deep, curling cross to the back post evaded the Owls backline, and allowed Daly to sneak in from his left wing and slide the ball first-time into the bottom corner and grab a point.
Palace: Webber, Russell, Onoabhagbe, Demby (Hanson 63), Lynch, Boateng, Onen (Elliott 75), Robertson (Watson 75), Hungbo, Daly, Jno-Baptiste. Subs not used: Funnell, Gurung.