Mamadou Sakho made his first appearance back in red and blue for Palace’s development team, who despite the deadline day signing’s presence fell to defeat against Sheffield Wednesday.
The Frenchman continued his quest for match fitness by completing 45 minutes at Selhurst Park in what was his first action since getting injured at the same venue last April, but he was unable to prevent Richard Shaw’s under-23 team from tasting a narrow defeat against the reigning Professional Development League champions.
The best of the early opportunities fell to Palace, and they nearly took the lead when Michael Phillips headed marginally over from a Jason Lokilo cross when well placed, before wayward blasts from Nya Kirby and Kian Flanagan flew into the Whitehorse Lane End, with Wednesday’s first real opportunity coming when Fraser Preston curled wide 27 minutes into proceedings.
Soon after, Flanagan tried the same thing but the Republic of Ireland under-18 international could only find Dan Wallis in the Owls goal, but with five minutes of the half to go, the Eagles conceded a sloppy opener.
A free-kick was clipped into a crowd of players in the box, and the ball struck Frederik Neilson before finding its way to the unmarked Preslav Bonar, who simply prodded past Dion-Curtis Henry from close range to give the visitors the half-time advantage.
They nearly doubled it just five minutes into the second half when Ash Baker picked the ball up 30 yards from goal and the left-back let fly, and his bending thunderbolt smacked off the crossbar and bounced down in front of the goalline before Palace scrambled clear.
That let-off sparked the Eagles into action again, and it wasn’t long until Flanagan was pushing into the area where his dribble was thwarted by the sprawling Wallis with Freddie Ladapo hitting over the rebound, and with seven minutes to go the striker nearly netted his third of the season when he sweetly caught a Kirby centre on the volley, but Wallis wasn’t to be beaten, pulling off a fine one-handed stop to clinch victory for Wednesday.
Palace: Henry, Wan-Bissaka, Phillips, Woods, Sakho (Tavares 46), Souare, Kirby, McGregor (Husin 77), Flanagan, Lokilo (Diedrick-Roberts 77), Ladapo. Subs not used: Tupper, Fundi.
Sheffield Wednesday: Wallis, Baker, Nielsen, O’Grady, Penney, Preston, Murphy, Kirby, Clarke, Borukov (Waldock 70), Lonchar (Bendetti 80). Subs not used: Williams, Walker, West.