Palace held off a spirited comeback from Dundee to edge out a seven goal thriller in a fine tribute to Julian Speroni in his testimonial match.
A host of current, former and guest players for both sides put on a fine display of football, and although the Palace first-team ran rampant in the first 45, the visitors enjoyed the better of a second half as a host of guest players turned out for the Eagles, but the result wasn’t the important thing as the game allowed 11,500 fans to pay tribute to a legend from both clubs.
Three minutes in Wilfried Zaha won the ball on the edge of the box and took aim but saw his blast fizz over the top, but he was instrumental in Palace taking the lead on six minutes.
The winger burst past Gary Irvine on the right and saw his cross clip off Jim McAlister, forcing Kyle Gourley in the Dundee goal into a smart save, but he was helpless to deny Yannick Bolasie from turning in the rebound from a couple of yards out.
Speroni was called into action soon after when Stoke City’s Charlie Adam, a huge Dundee fan, saw a low grasscutter comfortably saved by the man of the day, and later he hit an ambitious volley which sailed over the bar after good work by Greg Stewart.
But on 23 minutes Palace grabbed a second. Bolasie had a go from 25 yards which was pushed out by Gourley but once again it fell kindly to a Palace player and Chung-yong Lee pounced to score his maiden goal for the Eagles’ first-team.
And it was soon 3-0 on the half-hour mark. Some scintillating play between Dwight Gayle and Wilfried Zaha saw the two combine to create a chance for the striker, who dummied past McAlister before firing low into the bottom corner of the net.
But just as it looked to be one-way traffic, Dundee hit back. Adam played a fine through ball into the area which was raced onto by Dylan Carreiro and the Canadian slid the ball past Speroni to ensure the keeper would be beaten on his big day.
However he had something to smile about moments later when he pulled off a double save to deny Adam and Luka Tankulic, and that allowed Palace to head down the other end and Lee crossed low for Gayle to tap home and restore the three goal lead before half-time.
A raft of substitutions were made at the break with the Eagles changing their entire team, and that allowed Dundee back into the game and one of their guest players nearly scored in sensational style. Juan Sara, who played with Speroni during his time north of the border, cheekily flicked the ball over the keeper but the Palace stopper managed to back-peddle and tip the ball over the top.
There was a nice moment for all in attendance when Alan Pardew was introduced to the fray on the hour mark who took up a holding midfield role, and he linked up well with John Salako as they rekindled their 1990 days.
There was plenty of showboating on display in the second half and Fabian Caballero latched onto a neat pass from Sara but his bicycle kick was well wide, and Speroni swapped his Eagles jersey for a Dundee one as he played the final 15 minutes for the visitors.
And they pulled another one back with five minutes to play when Temuri Ketsbaia teed up Adam on the edge of the box and he rifled the ball past Lewis Price to give the Dark Blues fan a moment to cherish, and a minute later Cammy Kerr broke down the left and fired the ball in to make it 4-3 and set up a grandstand finish.
However they ran out of time and Speroni’s current side hung on to their lead to cap off an enjoyable evening from all in attendance.
Palace: Speroni (Price 71); Ramage (Ashton 46), Hangeland (Butterfield 46), Delaney (Lawrence 46), Ward (Morgan 46, Barrionuev 80); Zaha (Fendley 46, E. Speroni 80), McArthur (Boateng 46, Borsalino 72), Bannan (Riihilahti 46), Bolasie (Gray 46, Salako 60); Lee (Kaikai 46, Pardew 60), Gayle (Morrison 46, Pedercini 75).
Dundee: Gourlay (Speroni 77), McGinn (A. Black 46), McPake, Gadzhalov (Konrad 46), Irvine (Kerr 46), Carreiro (Carranza 55, J. Black 83), McAlister (J. Black 61, Nemsadze 75), Adam (Colquhoun 46, Adam 75), Stewart (Ketsbaia 55), Tankulic (Sara 55), Wighton (Caballero 55).
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