Richard Shaw’s Under-23 side faced off against Coventry City on a sunny afternoon at Selhurst Park, with Coventry finishing the game winners despite a close, tightly fought 90 minutes.
First team players Scott Dann and Pape Souaré featured with Dann acting as the central core to a back three as Palace fielded a similar formation to that seen against Bristol City last Monday.
The game began with a slow, laboured start that saw both sides only tamely threaten the other and neither teams’ ‘keeper was called into action throughout the first half with any urgency.
Souaré enjoyed troubling runs down Palace’s left-wing but, as happened continually throughout the game, found his crosses flying frustratingly across the face of opposition’s goal.
Coventry enjoyed a brief spell of possession as the game wound its way through the first half but failed to make any advantage materialise from their attacks.
Palace passed the ball well but found their assaults typically being defended by a resolute Coventry backline and the Eagles went into halftime having not tested opposition shot-stopper Corey Addai once.
During the break, Palace manager Shaw made two substitutions with Tyrick Mitchell and Levi Lumeka replacing Pape Souaré and David Boateng.
The game began to come into life as the second half opened, with Coventry almost instantly finding themselves frustrated to see Palace ‘keeper Tupper mop-up an over-hit through ball. Lumeka then found himself at the other end of the pitch but struck his shot into an opposition defender and had to watch as the rebound from Nya Kirby was smartly saved by Addai.
Maintaining its new-found tempo, the match saw both sides attack with more potency and City’s Anthony Andreu was only prevented from scoring at close-range by an imperiously strong challenge from Nikola Tavares.
Tupper found himself called into action more as the afternoon progressed, denying Jak Hickman from very close range. And after an hour, Dann was replaced by Oliver O’Dwyer to the applause of onlooking supporters.
Launching a series of promising offences, Palace were frustrated to see an effort by Brandon Pierrick well saved and several fizzing crosses only result in Coventry regaining the ball.
When Mitchell struck hard at City’s goal on the 68th minute, the visiting goalkeeper was called into action again to produce a solid near-post save.
Coventry then took the day’s only goal well as Josh Eccles responded first to a Tupper punch with an impressive first touch before rifling the ball into the home side’s net.
Crystal Palace’s afternoon continued to frustrate as the side could only look on as repeated crosses from Lumeka were not capitalised upon and Coventry were able to hold on to a well-guarded clean sheet to take all three points on the day.
Crystal Palace: Tupper, Tavares, Souaré (Mitchell 45), Boateng (Lumeka 45), Woods, Dann (O’Dwyer 61), Robertson, Flanagan, Pierrick, Kirby, Addy. Subs not used: Boateng, Webber.
Coventry City: Addai, Grimmer (Thompson 61), Mason, Eccles, Green (Soleman 69), Williams, Hickman (McCallum 82), Ngandu, Bremang, Andreu, Stedman. Subs not used: Bilson, Walters.