A late penalty from Jason Lokilo two minutes from time secured victory for Palace’s development team at Ipswich Town and clinch a third win from their past four matches.
The winger found his first goal of the campaign at just the right time after he converted the spot-kick he won to help return the under-23 to winning ways after defeat at Millwall last time out, but Richard Shaw’s team merited their victory after a fine second half display.
The hosts, who named six players that featured in the Carabao Cup tie against Palace in August, began well and after a quarter of an hour they had the first sight of goal when Shane McLoughlin met a Monty Patterson corner with his head but failed to get an adequate connection.
Having received a maiden call-up to the first-team bench against Chelsea on Saturday, Dion-Curtis Henry was back in action for the development side and just before the half-hour mark he was forced into action when he tipped over a Ben Morris header, and it took until 39 minutes for the visitors to register a decent opportunity when Noor Husin fizzed a low effort from distance just past the post.
After the break Shaw’s side created another good opportunity when Lokilo swept a free-kick into the area which Michael Phillips was able to get on the end of it but saw his attempt flash just over the crossbar, and with a swirling wind the aerial route continued to be profitable and Freddie Ladapo could have snatched the opener when he nodded wide from close range when the ball came off his shoulder.
With 20 minutes to go, Ladapo against failed to net from close range, however this time only a fantastic stop from Michael Crowe prevented the striker from grabbing his fifth goal of the campaign, and then another in-form hitman in Ben Folami looked to have bagged the opener after bursting forward and taking aim, but the league’s top scorer struck the base of the post.
But with just two minutes of the game to go, Palace were awarded a penalty when Andre Coker did well to find Lokilo who was brought crashing down in the box. Despite the pressure of finding the game-winning goal on his shoulders, Lokilo dusted himself off to send Crowe the wrong way from 12 yards and snatch the victory.
There was still time for the Eagles to add a second as Ladapo robbed McLoughlin of possession and went one-on-one with the Town keeper but Crowe saved well, however the points were already secure as Palace closed the gap on the third-placed Tractor Boys..
Ipswich: M. Crowe, D. Crowe, Webber, Foudil, Woolfenden, T. Smith, Patterson, McLoughlin, Morris, Folami, McKendry. Subs: Marshall, Hayes, Clements, Dobra, Daniels.
Palace: Henry, Wan-Bissaka, Phillips, Woods, Tavares, Brown, Flanagan, Husin, Lokilo, Lumeka, Ladapo. Subs: Tupper, Mitchell, Robertson, Hungbo, Coker.