A couple of hours after the sides were paired together in the FA Cup semi-final, Crystal Palace cruised to a 5-0 victory against Watford in their latest Professional Development League 2 game.
It took just nine minutes for Palace to take the lead as a trailist scored the first of three goals on the night when a ball into his path was held up well by the forward who then struck it on the turn into the top corner of the net to open the scoring in style.
After Kleton Perntreou was called into action for the first time when he was required to push over a close-range George Byers volley, Palace doubled their advantage on 18 minutes when they won a corner which Hiram Boateng clipped into the area and Connor Dymond was on hand to bundle the ball over the line to score his fifth of the season.
And Gary Issott’s side would take a three goal lead into the half-time break following a sterling 45 minutes’ work when the trialist notched his second after he stroked home following a header across the area by Oliver O’Dwyer two minutes before the whistle.
Needing something early on to get back into the match, Harry Kewell’s Hornets created a couple of opportunities after the restart and Alex Jakubiak saw a shot blocked after being played in by Steven Berghuis, and then Sean Murray dragged a shot off target soon after.
But the visitors wrapped the win up just past the 60 minute mark when Randell Williams saw a shot from distance fly past Luke Simpson and continued the winger’s purple patch as that was his fourth goal in five games.
Perntreou didn’t have too much to do but he made his best save on 70 minutes when Berghuis attempted to bend the ball into the top corner but the Palace stopper leapt through the air to tip the ball over his crossbar.
With 13 minutes to go the trialist rounded off the scoring by completing his hat-trick when he picked up the ball just inside the air and fired it low into the bottom corner to ensure an emphatic away win for Issott’s side.
Palace: Perntreou, George, Croll, O'Dwyer (Wynter 75), Scales, Boateng (Phillips 60), Dymond, Williams, Dreher, Berkeley-Agyepong, A Trialist (Fundi 85). Subs not used: Pain, Lumeka.