Palace stepped up their preparations for the Professional Development League play-offs by extending their unbeaten run to six games after comfortably seeing off Hull City.
Goals either side of half-time from the red-hot duo of Levi Lumeka and James Daly handed the southern division champions another three points, before Lumeka added further gloss to the scoreline late on to boost confidence after an assured display at a sunny Selhurst Park.
Hull had looked to be tough opponents having won their last five games, and the first opportunities fell to the visitors who tested Joe Tupper twice within the space of 30 seconds in the 17th minute. Firstly, the goalkeeper was forced to save a low Liam Edwards effort, and then he showed good presence to prevent Greg Olley from lobbing him from the edge of the area.
But three minutes later, the Eagles snatched the lead themselves with their first attempt. A short corner routine involving Jason Lokilo and Daly allowed the latter to whip a cross into a dangerous area, and after Olley miscued his clearance, Lumeka was on hand to bravely nod in from a yard out.
An even first 45 continued with chances for either side as Lokilo tried his luck from range which Harrison Foulkes managed to parry away, and at the other end Tom Powell was gifted a great chance to equalise after a neat through-ball by Olley, but he screwed wide of the far post.
Seconds before half-time Palace could have doubled their lead when Lokilo nearly netted a wondergoal. The Belgian scampered forward from the halfway line to the edge of the area, played a return pass with Lumeka and then wrapped a curling shot off the crossbar just before the half drew to a close.
Richard Shaw’s team continued in the same vein after the restart and Kian Flanagan drew Foulkes into another save when he curled low towards the bottom corner, and Jaroslaw Jach saw a fierce shot blocked by the midriff of Brandon Fleming after a corner dropped into his path.
But after an hour, the pressure told as the Eagles eventually moved 2-0 ahead. A nice passing move involving Giovanni McGregor, Flanagan and Lumeka carved out a chance for the latter who saw his effort well stopped by Foulkes, however Daly was on hand to score his eighth goal in 11 under-23 outings by mopping up the rebound.
The second half was one-way traffic and only another fine save by Foulkes kept the Tigers in the game when a mistake by Lewis Ritson allowed Lumeka to slip in but the keeper denied the Eagles’ top scorer one-on-one, before Erdal Rakip and Daly fired goalwards from the edge of the area but neither could add to the lead.
There was a late scare when Edwards dispossessed Jach on the halfway line and charged forward before putting his attempt wide, and after Joseph Hungbo saw a shot pushed away for a corner, Jach met the delivery at the far post and Foulkes tipped his header onto the post, but it fell perfectly for a static Lumeka to net his 15th of the campaign with three minutes remaining.
Hull had given up the ghost late on after wilting in the heat, and substitute Rob Street could have made it a second successive 4-0 win for the development side when he saw a shot clip the post, but Shaw would have been more than happy with the margin of victory.
Palace: Tupper, Baxter (Mitchell 46), Bryon, Jach, Brown, McGregor, Rakip, Lokilo (Hungbo 77), Flanagan, Lumeka, Daly (Street 86). Subs not used: Funnell, Robertson.
Hull: Foulkes, McKenzie, Ritson, Thacker, Fleming, Edwards, Batty, Chadwick, Hamilton, Powell (Lewis-Potter 59), Olley. Subs not used: Andrew, Jacob, Greaves, Dyson.