David Boateng’s first goal for the under-18 side proved to be crucial as it helped the Eagles edge past the Hornets and return to winning ways.
Paddy McCarthy’s side had to come from behind to bounce back from the previous weekend’s loss to Bristol City, but strikes from James Daly and Boateng proved to be enough to claim all three points in Hertfordshire.
The early opportunities all fell for the hosts who went close when Jesus Cruz Cabrera saw a shot from distance clear the bar before Max Ryan’s curled shot also threatened to break the deadlock, however the first half’s best opportunity fell to the Eagles’ Victor Fundi who looked set to head home the opener
five minutes before the break, however Andrew Thomas in the Watford goal denied him with his feet.
There would be another opportunity for Fundi to get his name on the scoresheet before half-time but he would prod the ball wide when well-positioned, but the Eagles continued to grow into the game with Joseph Hungbo going similarly close a minute after the restart.
Despite their pressure though, McCarthy’s boys would fall behind on 51 minutes when Treon Johnson was fouled, and Josh Roe’s delivery evaded everyone inside a crowded penalty area and caught out Matthew Funnell to inadvertently find the net.
The advantage would last just 60 seconds though as Palace showed great spirit to fight back immediately when Daly latched onto a fine cross from the right flank to fire the ball past Thomas and level the scores.
And with 20 minutes to play, some good teamwork in midfield saw Palace string together a number of passes and eventually find a way to slip Boateng in on goal, and the midfielder fired high into the net to score his first goal for the academy side on just his fourth appearance.
Watford came close to snatching a point late on when Johnson failed to hit the target when unmarked in the box, and Funnell denied Roe a brace with a good stop late on as Palace returned south with the victory.