Paddy McCarthy’s under-18 side extended their lead at the top of the U18 Professional Development League to seven points as they saw off Colchester United in Essex.
Excellent goals from Andrew Demby and Joseph Hungbo either side of the break saw off the challenge of United, and continues the academy side’s superb start to the campaign that has seen them claim eight wins from their opening 12 matches.
The league leaders enjoyed the better of the opening chances, and after a spell of possession a cross-field pass by Demby allowed Francis Jno-Baptiste to pounce on some hesitation by a U’s defender, but his drive from the edge of the box was comfortable for the Colchester keeper.
But the pressure told three minutes before the break as the young Eagles snatched the lead at a crucial time. Having scored six times in his previous six games, Jno-Baptiste was hungry for more and he robbed possession off a defender before finding Hungbo on the left. His cross was only cleared into the D where Demby was advancing, and the midfielder unleashed a rocket of a first-time shot that flew into the bottom corner.
Chasing the game, the hosts looked more threatening in the second half but failed to really test Oliver Webber in the Palace goal, and with six minutes to go, another superb strike sealed three more points for McCarthy’s side.
David Boateng picked out Hungbo on the right flank, who cut inside, wriggled past two defenders just inside the area and got away a powerful shot that slipped under the U’s shot-stopper before nestling in the net to register his sixth goal of the campaign.
There was still time for a late opportunity for skipper James Daly to get on the scoresheet when a neat passing move involving Brandon Aviero and Hungbo created a shooting chance for the winger, but his left-footed shot was beaten away by the goalkeeper, however the two-goal margin was more than enough for another victory.
Palace: Webber, Ossai, Gurung (Boateng 46), Lynch, Mitchell, Demby, Hungbo, Malcolm (Aveiro 46), Robertson, Daly, Jno-Baptiste (Elliott 80). Subs not used: Funnell, Matthews.