It was very much a game of two halves for Palace’s under-23 side against Barnsley on Monday afternoon as a six-minute spell in the second half sealed the visitors' fate.
The visitors started the brighter of the two teams at Selhurst Park, enjoying most of the possession slightly inside the Eagles’ half, but without any real purpose. Ultimately the game was decided by one side taking their chances when they were presented to them.
Barnsley’s Tai-Reece Chisholm had the first real chance of the half on 33 minutes when he skipped into the Palace box and thumped an effort wide of the top corner, when he really should have worked Dion-Curtis Henry from close in.
Five minutes later and Palace had had an even better opportunity. TQ Addy, Jashaun Chamberlin and Gio McGregor combined well to retain possession on the left before the latter played a neat one-two in-field with Kian Flanagan. The return ball saw McGregor glide into space in the Barnsley box, but his sidefoot effort was well parried by Henry Kendrick and cleared from danger.
Half time came and went with the two sides tied at 0-0 and the second period began in a similar vein to how the first had ended, with both sides trying to assert themselves and Palace looking particularly dangerous on the break. Shortly after the restart it became clear that it was the Eagles who were in the ascendancy and they began to look more and more likely to be the ones coming away with the three points.
The deadlock was broken on 54 minutes when a neat Palace move culminated with Flanagan taking a touch in the box, bursting away from his man and rifling a low left-footed effort below the goalkeeper.
Moments later and the game had a second goal. A low cross, aimed at Flanagan, was deemed to have been handled in the Barnsley box. The Eagles’ number 10 was on hand to coolly slot the penalty into the net, clinching his and Palace’s second in as many minutes.
The home side were buoyed by the quickfire brace and kept on at a shellshocked Barnsley, adding a third on 61 minutes. Woods’ raking cross-field ball was worked back in-field from the right before Lewis Bryon was found 25 yards from goal. The midfielder set himself with a touch past an onrushing defender and then laced a low drive into the far bottom corner from the edge of the area.
Palace remained dangerous and looked the likelier of the two sides to notch another. Barnsley’s Henry Kendrick pulled off a remarkable one-handed save to deny Sam Woods from close range, tipping the centre-back’s first time hit narrowly over the crossbar and behind for a corner. The goalkeeper reacted quickest to the resulting set piece, attempting to punch it clear, but it felt to Gio McGregor and he was wiped out as he took a touch on the edge of the box, gifting the Eagles a second penalty of the game.
Flanagan stepped up and put the ball the other side to his previous effort, securing his third and Palace’s fourth of the afternoon.
Palace: Henry; D Boateng, Tavares, Woods, Chamberlin; Bryon, McGregor, Flanagan (M Boateng, 88); Robertson (Pierrick, 84), Addy, Daly (Street, 73).
Subs: Tupper, Brown.
Barnsley: Kendrick, Wardle, Simpson (Helliwell, 40), Fielding, Smith, Otim, Berkouits, Barnett, McDonagh (Olaye, 67), Chisholm, Walsh (Feeney, 67).