Kian Flanagan scored his first goal for the development squad which proved enough to claim their first win in nine games as they beat Colchester United on Monday night.
The recently capped Republic of Ireland under-18 international popped up with the winner on 72 minutes to finally end Richard Shaw’s side’s long wait for a taste of victory, which stretched back to September.
Despite the lack of goals, the encounter was full of goalmouth action which began just three minutes in when Sammie Szmodics had a shot pushed away by Billy Granger for a corner, and his opposite number Dillon Barnes then had to make a smart stop to deny Levi Lumeka who had burst through the defensive line to latch onto a Corie Andrews through-ball.
However the Eagles had to ride their luck a little in the first half and when JJ Wilson’s cross found Dion Sembie-Ferris who skied over the bar when well-placed, and just before the half-hour mark Decarrey Sheriff sent an attempt just wide.
Before the half was out, Randell Williams poked an effort wide and then Andrews saw a shot deflected away for a corner as Palace began to edge back into the encounter, and after the restart the striker then fired straight at Barnes.
The U’s then wasted another good opportunity when Louis Dunne blasted over the top, before Palace thought they had found the breakthrough when trialist Nikola Tavanes had a goal ruled out for shirt-pulling despite heading home from close range.
However the deadlock was broken five minutes later when centre half Tavanes broke through, and although his attempted pass was blocked, the ball came to Flanagan who weaved into the box and bent the ball smartly into the bottom corner of Barnes’ net.
With a lead to protect, there were a few scary moments for the Eagles late on when Granger had to save a Eion McKeown header at the far post following some good work by Dunne, and in the final minute fortune was on Shaw’s side when Sheriff hammered a vicious volley off the crossbar after a free-kick was clipped into the box, as Palace breathed a sigh of relief.
Palace: Granger, Lewis, Woods, Tavares, Mitchell, McGregor, Flanagan, Lumeka (Lokilo 78), Coker, Williams, Andrews (Fundi 85). Subs not used: McAdden, Hosannah, Akinwunmi.