Palace continued their unbeaten start to pre-season as Jordon Mutch scored the only goal of the game to beat Colchester United in the Eagles’ first friendly back in England.
The midfielder scored in fine fashion early on to hand his side the lead which they never relinquished despite the U’s hitting the post and having a shot cleared off the line, but ultimately another win was claimed by Alan Pardew’s side at the Western Homes Community Stadium to continue their encouraging start to 2016/17.
It took just nine minutes for the Eagles to open the scoring and just as he had at Cincinnati 10 days earlier it was Mutch grabbing an early breakthrough from range. Connor Wickham found Jason Puncheon inside the D who laid the ball off to the midfielder, and he clipped it nonchalantly first-time into the top corner via the crossbar to score his second of pre-season.
With the lead seized the visitors controlled proceedings for the majority of the first 45 against the League Two outfit but midway through the half they had a lucky escape. Doug Loft’s corner was misjudged by Alex McCarthy allowing Chris Porter a header which clattered off the post and back into play, and Alex Wynter nearly notched against his former club but Puncheon was well-placed to clear the ball off the line.
Pressing to increase his team’s advantage, Zeki Fryers struck just wide from 25 yards out on the half-hour mark but the U’s went just as close when they won a free-kick a few minutes later and Loft rippled the side-netting with a low drive, and the same man had another attempt soon after but it was straight down the throat of McCarthy as the half drew to a close.
Despite only playing his second game of pre-season Yannick Bolasie remained on the pitch after the break and to minutes later he teased his way past a couple of home defenders on the left and smashed the ball goalwards but Sam Walker managed to beat it away for a corner.
The game then began to peter out as Pardew utilised his bench however on 65 minutes they received another let-off when a fine tackle by Joel Ward prevented Porter from finding the net, but the ball came to Sammie Szmodics who looked destined to tuck it into McCarthy’s far corner but instead rolled it just past the post.
As more substitutions were made the Palace XI became younger and more inexperienced which allowed Colchester more of the ball and opportunities to push forward in search of an equaliser but only a couple of free-kicks caused any real concern for McCarthy, however there was one late chance when a knockdown in the area came to Tom Eastman but he lacked composure and drilled it high over the bar in the final seconds as Palace stretched their unbeaten run to four games.
Colchester United: Walker (Barnes 69), Brindley (Bonne 80), Wynter (Eastman 69), Prosser (Kent 80), Kinsella (O’Donoghue 69), Loft (Garvan 69), Lapslie (Slater 69), Wright (Vincent-Young 80), Szmodics (Johnstone 69), Dickenson (Guthrie 69), Porter (Sembie-Ferris 69). Subs not used: Elokobi.
Palace: McCarthy, Ward, Dann (Kelly 70), Delaney (Croll 70), Fryers (Binnom-Williams 78), Boateng (Jedinak 59), Mutch (Ladapo 85), Puncheon (Lee 59), Bolasie (Kaikai 59), Townsend (Berkeley-Agyepong 70), Wickham (Campbell 45). Subs not used: Perntreou, Wynter.