Palace suffered a cruel defeat at the hands of Colchester United as an own goal from a trialist saw them lose to the U’s at Dulwich Hamlet FC.
There was no early evidence of the fate that was to befall the hosts as Richard Shaw’s team dominated proceedings for the opening half an hour, and after Oliver O’Dwyer had gone close with a couple of headers from set-pieces, Palace took the lead on 29 minutes. A cross was partially cleared by the Colchester defence, but only to Luke Dreher who controlled the ball and took it into the box, before finding the bottom corner via a slight deflection to score his first of the campaign.
Jonathan Benteke then saw two good opportunities go begging, firstly narrowly missing connecting with a good cross by Aaron Wan-Bissaka before robbing a centre-back of possession and sprinting goalwards, however he saw his one-on-one opportunity saved by the U’s goalkeeper.
That would prove to be the game’s turning point as within a minute, the scores were level. After the visitors had got into the Eagles’ third, the defence switched off and a quickly-taken throw-in was crossed into the box for Macauley Bonne to tap in from six yards out.
Disaster struck for Palace two minutes after the restart when they fell behind. Comfortable in possession, trialist Kristopher de Graca had a lapse in communication with Kleton Perntreou and passed the ball back towards the goalkeeper who had moved wide to create an angle, and the ball agonisingly trickled over the goalline to put the U’s ahead.
Following that huge setback, Palace struggled to get back into the game with the difference between the average ages of the two sides becoming more evident as the encounter turned into a stalemate, with Colchester’s increased physically paying dividends.
However, Shaw’s side nearly nicked a point through another trialist when Delial Brewster saw a header tipped over the crossbar but Palace couldn’t find another way through and fell to defeat in their penultimate game of the campaign.
Palace: Perntreou, Wan-Bissaka, Phillips, de Graca, O’Dwyer, Mitchell, Coker (Woods 46), Dreher, Lokilo, Lumeka (Hungbo 83), J. Benteke (Brewster 75). Subs not used: Webber, Tavares.