The Eagles got their U18 Professional Development League campaign off to the best possible start as they edged out Sheffield Wednesday in a high-scoring encounter in Beckenham.
It took just three minutes for the opening goal to arrive, but unfortunately for Ken Gillard’s boys it fell to the visitors when a swift counter-attack led to a cross from the left from Fraser Preston being converted by the head of George Hirst – son of Owls legend David.
But soon enough Palace cancelled out that early setback as they netted their first of the campaign just six minutes later when Tariq Ossai got on the end of a free-kick and saw it find the net via at deflection, and after a quarter of an hour they were ahead when another set-piece caused havoc as a corner bounced inside the area and last season’s 17-goal man Levi Lumeka was on hand to tuck it away.
And after 25 minutes the Eagles made it 3-1 when they were gifted a goal by the opposition. A loose backpass put the goalkeeper under pressure and he was closed down by Kian Flanagan, who eventually had the simple task of tucking the ball into an unguarded net.
Palace continued to dominate proceedings with trialist Giovanni McGregor seeing two long-range strikes go close, and then Wednesday were forced to clear off their own goalline before the break as they retreated to the changing rooms lucky not to be further behind.
Further opportunities to wrap up the win in the second half weren’t taken as Lumeka saw a shot bend just past the post and Sam Woods head over the crossbar, and on 70 minutes the Eagles were punished when Josh Reaney powered home a second for the Owls.
Despite holding just the one goal lead, the hosts held on for the victory to start the campaign with a useful three points.
Palace: McAdden, Hosannah, Woods, Ossai, Sturgess, Lumeka, Bryon, McGregor, Hungbo (Daly 74), Fundi, Flanagan. Subs not used: Funnell, Norman-Williams, Linton, Lynch.