Two injury-time goals saw Palace come back from the dead to beat in-form Sheffield United as they returned to league action following their Indian excursion.
Having got to the semi-final of the IFA Shield during their two weeks away, the improved camaraderie and team-spirit came to the fore as Ken Gillard’s side battled back to snatch victory in dramatic circumstances.
Things began well for the visitors who took the lead after just eight minutes when Levi Lumeka won a penalty after being tripped by the Blades’ right-back, and he dusted himself down to score from the spot.
But United, who had won their previous five games, bounced straight back and equalised three minutes later with a header from a corner, and they nearly went ahead on 17 minutes but Colm McAdden in the Palace goal pulled off a tremendous double-save to keep the scoreline level.
Palace got themselves back ahead on 25 minutes when Jason Lokilo found Corie Andrews who saw his shot saved by the home goalkeeper, but Lumeka was in the right place to tuck away the rebound and score his second.
Three minutes before half-time though United drew level again when McAdden was impeded at a corner and the ball was scrambled home, but after regrouping at the break Palace responded and Andrews saw another shot saved before Lumeka was denied his hat-trick by the woodwork after a fine solo run from inside his own half, and Lokilo then also hit the frame of the goal just after the hour mark.
But eight minutes from time Palace’s set-piece woes continued as they conceded another header from a corner, however their never-say-die attitude looked to have earned them a point when some good work by Kian Flanagan allowed him to cross and Sam Woods’ flick-on was dispatched into the net by Andrews.
Then remarkably three minutes into stoppage-time Andrews was fouled on the edge of the area, and Flanagan’s dangerous free-kick was parried by the keeper into the path of Bryce Hosannah who lashed the ball home to spark jubilant scenes in Sheffield.