Palace’s academy side were brought back down to earth with a bump after they were beaten by Colchester United last Saturday.
Having toppled league leaders Charlton Athletic the weekend before to pull themselves back in contention for a play-off place, the Eagles fell to defeat in Essex to remain three points behind second-placed Watford.
With bad weather battering the country, the wind in their faces during the first 45 minutes and a tough pitch to contend with, Ken Gillard’s side weathered the storm for the first half an hour, but they would ultimately go into the break a goal behind.
10 minutes from the end of the first-half the U’s got in down the left and their winger charged inside towards goal before tucking the ball past Colm McAllen in the Eagles goal to hand his side an advantage at the interval.
That would be doubled three minutes after the break when Sam Woods inadvertently turned a cross into his own net as he stretched to cut out a dangerous cross, and things went from bad to worse when Palace again failed to close down a Colchester attacker on the edge of the box and he punished them by making it 3-0 on 51 minutes.
With the result seemingly all but a formality, Palace aimed to get back into the game and Malachi Mars forced the home goalkeeper into a good save from he was picked put by a smart cross by Jason Lokilo.
But they did get one back on 75 minutes in fortunate circumstances. Charlie Hayford went to clip a free-kick into the area from just inside the U’s half and saw the wind sweep the ball over their keeper who misjudged the flight of it and watched it sail into the net to hand the on-loan Tottenham midfielder his first goal for the Eagles.
Substitute Andre Coker then had an opportunity to set up a grandstand finish with nine minutes remaining but couldn’t quite get his shot away when well-placed as Palace missed the chance to move into the top two of the table.