Palace’s Development side kicked off their league campaign with a 1-1 home draw with Hull City, fielding a strong line up for the season opener at Tooting and Mitcham’s KNK Stadium.
Over-21 players Wayne Hennessey, Adlene Guedioura and summer signing Bakary Sako all started the game, with Sullay Kaikai and Christian Scales – who both featured heavily for the first team in pre-season – also in the eleven.
Neither side really got a hold on the game during the opening exchanges, with the first eight minutes seeing little in the way of action.
Just before the ten-minute mark, Hull’s Taylor Tombides hit a powerful effort from the edge of the box, which Hennessey did well to get down low to and parry.
Three minutes later, the Tigers’ striker had another effort, which he finished coolly, after being played through on goal, gifting the visitors a 1-0 lead early on.
Palace’s first real half-chance came to new boy Sako, but his long-range effort was eventually smothered by Erik Bukran – after the goalkeeper initially fumbled it. The goalkeeper quickly released the ball and Hull sent Tombides through on goal, he rounded Hennessey and looked set to double his – and Hull’s – tally, but fired into the side netting from a shrinking angle.
Hull continued to dominate, with Jarrod Bowen seeing an effort sail narrowly over Hennessey’s cross bar after 18 minutes. The Eagles struggled to fashion chances, due to the discipline of the visitors’ backline.
Sako was nearly in again, thanks to nice play from Aaron Bissaka, threading the ball between the legs of the last defender and into the powerful forward’s path. He was unable to get the ball under control though and Bukran did enough to put him off, knocking the pass out of the Malian’s reach.
The home side’s main threat seemed to be down the left, with Christian Scales and Sullay Kaikai both looking to cause Hull problems with their pace. Kaikai went close to a spectacular equaliser, riding a challenge and hammering a powerful effort from the edge of the area narrowly over the crossbar.
Kaikai continued to threaten, running with speed at the Hull defence, and whipping in several dangerous crosses, which weren’t converted. As he grew into the game, so did Palace, slowly looking like the more likely to score the second goal, with half-time approaching. The break came with Palace looking the stronger side, but unable to level the scores.
Palace tried to find a way back into the game after the restart, with Bissaka looking lively, but it was Hull that went closest to hitting the game’s second goal. Bowen – unmarked and six yards out – met a cross with his outstretched left boot, but could only divert it over the top, much to the relief of Hennessey.
Sako had a chance, following a crossed free-kick from Jake Gray, but the winger was unable to find the target, as the ball just glanced his head and sailed wide.
Minutes later, Palace equalised in style. Determined work down the right from Sako yielded an Eagles free-kick on the corner of the box, which the Malian stood over, alongside Sullay Kaikai. It was the youngster who hit it, curling the ball round the wall and into the bottom corner at the near post.
Andreas Breimyr, who scored in the young Eagles’ final pre-season fixture the week before, entered the action alongside Marcus Johnson with less than half an hour to go, replacing Guedioura and Sako. The move allowed Jake Gray to move into his more natural position on the wing, with Johnson slotting in at right-back.
Kaikai nearly added a second after a winding, 40-yard run at the Hull backline, but his venomous left-footed effort flashed over the bar.
Gray was replaced shortly after moving further up field, with young forward Corie Andrews coming on in his place on 69 minutes.
The game slowed as it entered the final 15 minutes, with both sides level at 1-1, but neither able to create clear-cut chances. A succession of Palace corners were dealt with by Hull and Bukran.
In added time, Hennessey was called into action, acrobatically tipping a Hull City free-kick over the crossbar, with the strike heading for the top corner. The Welsh international then caught the resulting corner unchallenged and the referee blew for full-time.
Palace XI: Hennessey; Gray (Andrews, 69), Collins, Croll, Scales; Allassani, Guedioura (Breimyr, 62), Dymond, Kaikai; Sako (Johnson, 62), Bissaka.
Subs: Perntreou, Coker.
Hull XI: Bukran; Clack, Townsend, Olley, Aimson, Clappison, Annan, Clark, Ter Horst, Tombides (Hinchliffe, 75), Bowen.
Subs: Saltmer, Rodgers, McKenzie, Tymon.