Palace needed extra-time to see off the challenge of the Shrews and book their place in the Capital One Cup third round, but they eventually did so in emphatic style.
A Dwight Gayle penalty cancelled out Matt Tootle’s early opener, but after the 90 minutes ended 1-1 Alan Pardew’s side began to run rampant and a second penalty was converted by Glenn Murray, before a first Palace goal from Chung-yong Lee and a Wilfried Zaha header put a gloss on proceedings.
After a quiet opening, the Shrews stunned Palace when they began the scoring just nine minutes in. Ryan Woods ghosted through the Eagles’ midfield and played the ball into the feet of Jean-Louis Akpa Akpro. The French striker held it up and laid it into the path of the overlapping Tootle who fired the ball through Wayne Hennessey’s legs to send the travelling fans wild.
The Eagles struggled to find any rhythm in the first half hour and with the visitors happy to soak up the pressure, chances were few and far between throughout the encounter. Indeed the only other opportunity for Micky Mellon’s side in the opening half came when Akpa Akpro drilled a shot well over from 30 yards.
But five minutes before the break Palace got themselves back into the tie when they were given the chance to score from the spot. Zaha played a one-two with Patrick Bamford on the edge of the box and sped into the area where he was pushed down by Abu Ogogo. Gayle stepped up and drove the ball into the bottom right corner of Jayson Leutwiler’s net to score his fifth goal in his last three League Cup ties.
Attacking excitement continued to be difficult to find upon the resumption of the game, but Bamford had a great chance to put his side ahead when Zaha again caused problems in the Shrews’ penalty area, but when the winger got the ball back to Bamford he blazed his shot on the turn over the bar.
20 minutes from time Palace’s front pair linked up when Bamford and Gayle combined for the latter to put over a cross for the on-loan Chelsea striker who attempted a bicycle kick which flashed off target, and after Lee was allowed to bring the ball forward 30 yards he found Gayle who blasted over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
Most of the hosts’ threats came through Zaha and he decided to go it alone towards the end of the 90 minutes as he sliced his way past three or four Shrewsbury defenders to create a shooting opportunity for himself, but despite having the angle he dragged his low shot wide of the target.
Palace continued to pile on the pressure late on and a free-kick from Gayle nearly deceived Leutwiler when it dipped wickedly in front of the shot-stopper who managed to scramble it away with his shins in unorthodox fashion, and in stoppage time a vicious blast by Gayle from the right did beat the giant Shrews goalkeeper but struck the top of the crossbar.
Extra-time would be required to separate the sides and just four minutes after the additional period started the Eagles would finally get their noses in front. Murray was bundled over inside the box by Mat Sadler and the substitute stepped up to fire the penalty past Leutwiler.
And their passage into the third round was sealed just two minutes later when Gayle fed Lee who sped towards goal, jinked inside and found the net to score his maiden goal for the red and blues.
With their dreams of an upset dashed, Shrewsbury began to fold and with seven minutes to go the Eagles added a fourth. Pape Souare raced onto a ball on the left and whipped in a brilliant cross which was gleefully headed in by Zaha to hand the Eagles a convincing victory.
Palace: Hennessey, Ward (Souare 46), Hangeland, Mariappa, Kelly, Jedinak (Mutch 52), Ledley, Zaha, Bamford (Murray 76), Lee, Gayle. Subs not used: McCarthy, Dann, Kaikai, Puncheon.
Shrewsbury: Leutwiler, Tootle, Grandison, Ellis, Sadler, Ogogo, R. Woods, Lawrence (Wesolowski 91), Brown, Collins (Whalley 103), Akpa Akpro (Barnett 87). Subs not used: Halstead, Clark, M. Woods, McAlinden.