Palace’s academy side picked up their first win of 2016 in style as they beat local rivals and league leaders Charlton Athletic thanks to goals from Joseph Hungbo and Malachi Mars.
The Eagles started well and took the lead after just 11 minutes when Mars – who is currently on loan from Chelsea’s academy – put a cross into the box which Hungbo volleyed in from 10 yards out.
Nine minutes later Palace had a great chance to double their lead when they broke following an Addicks corner and Levi Lumeka found Hungbo after a great solo run, and he returned the favour for Mars who fired over.
That meant Charlton remained in the game and they pulled level on 35 minutes when the Eagles failed to clear their lines and Colm McAdden was beaten by a shot from outside the box as the sides went into the break level.
But it was all Ken Gillard’s boys in the second half and Michael Philips went close when he connected with a header from a Jason Akiotu cross but saw his attempt tipped over, and then Lumeka sliced a shot wide when he was picked out by Bryce Hosannah.
A minute later Phillips was denied by the Addicks’ shot-stopper again when he cut inside and saw his shot saved at point-blank range, but the pressure finally told on 79 minutes when Hosannah found Mars who shrugged off a defender before coolly converting a one-on-one opportunity.
Sam Woods nearly sealed the win with six minutes to go but his header hit the crossbar, however a welcome three points meant third-placed Palace cut their opponents’ lead over them at the top of the table to six points.