Joseph Hungbo popped up with the game’s only goal four minutes from time to hand Palace back-to-back league wins at Ipswich’s expense in Beckenham.
The 15-year-old winger scored his first goal at this level in just his third appearance, and following a superb win against Queens Park Rangers in their previous outing, this latest result gives Ken Gillard’s boys plenty of momentum going into their FA Youth Cup third round clash against Accrington Stanley next week.
With the weather wreaking havoc across the country, the game was played in windy conditions which meant that chances during the 90 minutes were few and far between, but on 24 minutes Oliver Pain pulled off a world-class stop when a ball over the top got stuck in the wind and caught the Eagles defence out, allowing a Tractor Boys striker a free route to goal, but the Aussie stopper made a superb one-handed save at point-blank range to keep the scores level.
Six minutes later Palace, who were playing a couple of under-16s players in their side, had their first real opportunity of note when Levi Lumeka cut inside from the left and crossed towards the back post where Andre Coker was waiting, but he blasted his chance well over the crossbar.
That was as good as things got in the first half and with conditions not improving after the restart both sides continued to find things tough in the second 45, however Victor Fundi made his return from injury and played a starring role during his time on the field after coming on around the hour mark.
The game looked to be heading for a goalless draw but on 86 minutes Palace snatched the three points, and it would be one of those under-16s players who grabbed the crucial goal.
Hungbo crossed for Coker but when the shooting chance disappeared, he and Kian Flanagan did well to keep hold of the ball and pick out Hungbo who scored well with a left-footed volley to turn a certain draw into victory and stretch Gillard’s side’s unbeaten run to four games.