Crystal Palace Under-23s defeated bottom of the table Colchester United on Monday evening and now sit just one-point behind league-leaders Ipswich Town as they look to overtake them in first place.
The Development side beat the U's by the same scoreline they had in November at home thanks to a brace from Gio McGregor and a goal each from Rob Street and Sam Woods.
Unlike the second-half's four goal flurry, the match's first-half was a quiet affair with, if anything, Colchester being the dominant side for its opening exchanges. They opened proceedings when Noah Chilvers struck well from over 20-yards only for Joe Tupper's post to give the effort a slight bump as it flashed out for a goal-kick.
Responding to the threat, McGregor started off a smart attacking move as he chipped a ball across the field to Tyler Brown who, in turn, squared it to him bursting into the box. From less than 18-yards, the in-form midfielder was never going to miss as he stroked home confidently to open Palace's account.
From only slightly further out, Kian Flanagan then attempted to follow his teammate's lead as he stroked the ball at goal, an effort ultimately denied by the foot of the upright. Given a second chance by a fortuitous rebound, Flanagan then missed by inches with another shot from the edge of the box.
Following the break, Tupper was forced into making a smart save when the ball hurtled towards his inside left netting, however he was equal to the shot and got down low with good strength.
There was nothing he could do from the resulting corner though, as Devante Aransabia reacted to a missed cross to head home from point-blank range.
Level, the Eagles fought back hard to regain their foothold on the match and swiftly did so through Street, who showed sublime composure to round 'keeper Dillion Barnes before delaying his shot and finally, at just the right time, striking home from a tight angle.
Building on their advantage in an emphatic manner, McGregor bagged his second of the day as he sent Colchester's net bulging through a sharply dipping free-kick.
Next and last to net for the Eagles was the more unlikely goalscorer of Woods. Roaming up from defence, he scuffed a primary effort from McGregor's corner before eventually striking home from within the box at the second time of asking.
Looking to add a fifth as the game drew to a close, Levi Lumeka was unfortunate to be denied excellently by Barnes who threw a strong palm behind the Palace man's effort to ensure the clash ended with no further celebrations for the south Londoners.
Palace: Tupper, D. Boateng, Brown, McGregor, Tavares (C), Woods, Pierrick, M. Boateng, Street, Flanagan, Lumeka.
Subs: Chamberlin-Gayle, Webber, Ajayi, Robertson, Gordon.
Colchester: Barnes, Agboola, Clampin, Kiangebeni, Kensdale, Forino, Ager, Chilvers, Charles, Jones, Hyde.
Subs: Coulter, Shokunbi, Anderson, Aransabia, Hasanally.
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