A younger than usual Palace's academy side went down 5-1 at home to Southampton in their latest Academy Premier League clash with the Saints' Sam Gallagher helping himself to four of the Saints' goals.
The home side began the brighter and Jerome Williams tested the Saints goalkeeper early on by cutting inside before shooting with his weaker right-foot but two minutes later the young Eagles found themselves a goal down after Jake Hesketh capitalised on some uncertainty from Jahmal Mundle to find the bottom corner from just inside the area.
Southampton were buoyed by the opening goal and continued to press forward, with Williams being forced to make an excellent last-ditch tackle to prevent a second goal, and from the resulting corner the ball was cleared off the line as the Saints looked to double their advantage.
Palace then produced a good spell of possession themselves, with the ball finding Derek Tieku out on the right wing who sent a low whipped cross in for Jake Gray but he could only fire over the crossbar. Five minutes later and Gray was again involved in a flowing Palace move down the left, and he put the ball across the face of goal only for it to narrowly evade Tieku.
Williams proved to be Palace’s greatest threat going forward and had a second good chance to level the scores as he was first to a loose ball just inside the Southampton area, but once again could only shoot straight at the keeper.
However the killer second goal came just before the break when some good play by Southampton enabled Sam Gallagher to beat Tom King, meaning the Eagles had it all to do in the second 45 minutes to claw anything out of the game.
Palace brought on 16 year old Kyle Spence at half time and once again began the second half on top as Hiram Boateng provided Gray with a great opportunity but the midfielder could only volley wide. Southampton then countered and a Saints attacker took aim at goal with a curling shot
but Tom King produced an outstanding save to tip it onto the crossbar.
Ben Garner's side continued to press forward and Elijah Gabsi went close but it was game over when Gallagher notched his second goal of the game shortly afterwards after an excellent piece of skill put him clean through, and he coolly chipped over Tom King to put the game to bed.
Palace looked to respond soon after, with Croll heading against the crossbar but Boateng did pull a goal back for Palace from a corner to reduce the deficit. making it 1-3, but Gallagher completed his hat-trick with a diving header to end any chance of a late Eagles rally.
Both teams had chances to score late on, with King providing heroics between the posts to keep the scoreline down, but he was powerless to prevent the red-hot Gallagher from bagging his fourth goal of the game to complete the scoring.
Palace: King, Gordon, Croll, Mundle (Berkeley Agyepong 64), Williams, Toms (Spence 45), Gabsi, Boateng (c), Palmer (Andrews 74), Tieku.