Substitute Spencer Forte put 18 months of injury hell behind him to come off the bench and score the only goal of the game to beat Colchester United and rack up the under-18s’s fifth league win a row.
An unchanged side from the team that thrashed Queens Park Rangers 6-2 headed into the game at Beckenham full of confidence, but a stop-start game saw its one moment of brilliance on 65 minutes when Fonte netted the crucial goal to clinch another three point for Ken Gillard’s boys.
The hosts started well and forced Colchester to soak up a lot of early pressure, and there were chances for Elliott List and Jacob Berkley-Agyepong early on but either could find the breakthrough.
Oliver Pain was rarely called into action during the encounter but he was forced to make a good stop on the half hour mark when the U’s broke down the right and crossed into the box, but the Aussie was well placed to push away a powerful side-footed strike.
Palace were forced into two changes at half-time with List picking up a calf injury and Christian Scales coming off with knee bruising, but on 64 minutes Forte was added to the fray and he made an instant impact.
After some good build-up in the Colchester half, Andre Coker put in a great ball towards the back post and there was the midfielder lurking at the back post to score his first goal for the under-18s in just his second appearance since coming back from cruciate knee injuries which had robbed him of a year and a half of his young career.
The game petered out after that but on 83 minutes the visitors were given a glimmer of hope when Berkley-Agyepong was dismissed for a second yellow card meaning Gillard’s side had to hold on for the final stages but they battled hard to continue their fine form.