Luke Dreher’s first goal at under-21 level wasn’t enough for Palace to earn anything from their visit to the West Country as the Robins extended the Eagles’ search for a win to six games.
Palace included returning loanees Christian Scales, Hiram Boateng, Jonny Williams and Jerome Binnom-Williams in their line-up, but the hosts took the lead after just four minutes when City’s recent signing Arnold Garita netted.
A good run from full-back Lloyd Kelly allowed him to put in a great cross for the Cameroonian striker, who had time and space to take a touch before dispatching the ball past Kleton Perntreou in the Palace goal.
Having made so many changes it took Palace time to gel but they gradually improved as the half went on and went close when Jacob Berkley-Agyepong had a shot that was well saved, and Williams had a shot from distance that worried opposition keeper Joe Wollacott.
It looked as though the Eagles would regroup at the break just a goal down but they suffered a huge blow when they conceded a second on the stroke of half-time. Left-back Kelly was again a major factor as he put in another delivery from out wide which was only cleared to the Robins’ other full-back Charlie Harris outside the area, and he hit a sweet strike into the net to give Palace a mountain to climb.
Gary Issott’s men had chances in the second half to quickly reduce the arrears but Aaron Bissaka missed a golden chance when he robbed a defender and sped towards goal, but on his weaker side he could only shoot straight at Wallacott when one-on-one, and then later dragged another shot wide from a tight angle.
But with 10 minutes to go Dreher gave Palace hope by getting on the scoresheet. Randell Williams had been introduced by Issott from the bench and the winger delivered a fantastic cross that the midfielder headed into the net to set up a grandstand finish, but it just wasn’t to be for the Eagles.
Palace: Perntreou, Wynter, Fryers, O’Dwyer, Scales, J.Williams (Andrews 65), Boateng (R. Williams 75), Dreher, Binnom-Williams, Berkeley-Agyepong, Bissaka. Subs not used: Pain, Woods, George.