Glenn Murray came back to haunt his former club once again as he netted twice to condemn Brighton to derby day defeat as Palace ran out comfortable 3-0 winners at Selhurst to return to the top of the Championship.
The striker scored either side of the break and Owen Garvan added a penalty to seal the victory in a dominate performance that sent the majority of the 20,000 in attendance home happy.
Palace were handed a huge advantage after only six minutes when the Seagulls were reduced to 10 men. Lewis Dunk miscontrolled the ball 25 yards from his own goal and it was pounced upon by Yannick Bolasie, in his desperation to win it back the defender brought the winger down and had no complaints when he was shown a straight red card.
Boosted by the numerical advantage, the Eagles dominated the opening half an hour and created numerous chances. Garvan rattled the crossbar with the resultant free-kick and Bolasie twice tested Tomasz Kuszczak with fierce drives from the edge of the box before Garvan hit a first-time shot narrowly wide as Palace pushed for an early lead.
The Brighton defence was being overworked and next to have a go was Kagisho Dikgacoi, the South African unable to get enough power on his shot when he collected a Jonathan Parr cross, but the breakthrough finally arrived eight minutes before half-time.
Bolasie whipped a dangerous corner towards the near post, and Murray leapt highest to power the ball past Kuszczak to ensure his side went into the break with the reward that their first half efforts deserved.
Having seen their side breeze through the opening 45 minutes, Palace fans were given a scare after a minute of the re-start when Ashley Barnes' through ball split the Eagles defence and Craig Mackail-Smith raced through on goal, but when faced-one-on-one with Julian Speroni he could only hit the post.
However the result was put beyond doubt on 53 minutes when Murray capitalised on another defensive blunder from the Seagulls, and was brought down by Kuszczak whilst attempting to round the keeper. The referee pointed to the spot and the striker dispatched his 17th goal in 16 league games.
Murray was destroying the Brighton defence in the air and saw another header narrowly fly over the bar before on 70 minutes he was pushed down by Gordon Greer in the area and Palace won their second spot-kick of the afternoon. Despite being on a hat-trick, Murray unselfishly gave Garvan the opportunity to net Palace's third and the Irishman coolly fired home.
Palace were having plenty of joy through Bolasie and some further strong wing play saw him beat two players only for Damien Delaney to fire his cut-back over, and Speroni comfortably saved a late Mackail-Smith overhead kick during a rare foray forward for the visitors as the Eagles returned to the Championship summit with a professional display.
Crystal Palace: Speroni, Ward (Moritz 54), Parr, Bolasie, Dikgacoi, Garvan, Jedinak (c) (Moxey 85), Zaha, Murray (Wilbraham 73), Delaney, Ramage. Subs not used: Price, Easter, O'Keefe, Gabbidon
Brighton: Kuszczak, Bruno, Greer (c), Hammond, Dunk, Barnes, Orlandi (Crofts 44), Mackail-Smith, Calderon, Bridcutt, Buckley (Dicker 73). Subs not used: Brezovan, Hoskins, Dobbie, Harley, Lopez