Three goals in the space of 11 first half minutes ensured Palace picked up a fantastic victory against Leeds United at Elland Road, with Freddie Ladapo helping himself to a brace.
Recent first-team debutant Levi Lumeka opened the scoring before Ladapo added two more to virtual claim the win with just 34 minutes played, and despite seeing Giovanni McGregor sent off late on, Richard Shaw’s team comfortably held on to the three points to complete a near-perfect evening’s work.
Palace took the lead on 23 minutes when a free-kick from the halfway line was pumped into the visitors’ box and Ladapo nodded it back to Lumeka, who rifled home a powerful right-footed strike into the top corner to hand Shaw’s team the lead.
And four minutes later it was added to when a ball over the top failed to be cleared by a Whites defender, and Ladapo raced onto it before slotting between the legs of Bailey Peacock-Farrell to make it 2-0.
And before half-time it was game over when Nya Kirby received possession on the right flank and threaded in the overlapping Kian Flanagan, who raced to the byline to cut back for Ladapo who drilled home high into the net first-time to put Palace in firm control.
Desperately trying to get back in the game, Leeds had a couple of attempts either side of the break with Madger Gomes shooting just wide before Dion-Curtis Henry was forced to save with his legs from Eoghan Stokes, but Palace nearly added a forth when Lumeka clipped a cross over to the back post where Michael Phillips was fractions away from heading into an empty net.
Ladapo nearly completed his hat-trick just before the hour mark when Flanagan sent him one-on-one with Peacock-Farrell who saved the striker’s initial blast with his arm, but the rebound returned to Ladapo who attempted to chip him but saw his effort land on the roof of the net.
Palace were then reduced to 10 men when tempers flared following a robust challenge on Flanagan, and in the aftermath of the scuffle that ensued between both teams McGregor was dismissed, and with an extra man Leeds put some late pressure on the Eagles with Ousama Siddiki and Jack McKay both denied by the woodwork late on as Palace also clinched a third clean sheet of the campaign.
Palace: Henry, Phillips, Woods, Tavares, Wan-Bissaka, McGregor, Flanagan (Lokilo 69), Kirby (Husin 77), Brown (Mitchell 46), Lumeka, Ladapo. Subs not used: Funnell, Fundi.