Palace’s three-game unbeaten run came to a halt as they were beaten convincingly by the Hornets in their latest development league game.
It was an encounter filled with goalscoring opportunities, and within the first 10 minutes, both sides had chances to snatch an early lead. Firstly, Rhyle Ovenden fired over from inside the area after good play by Michael Folivi and Dennon Lewis, before Andre Coker responded for the Eagles but he blasted his free-kick from the edge of the area off target.
The winger though was celebrating soon after when he tapped the ball over the line from close range, however he was adjudged to have been offside and the scoreline remained at 0-0 until the 27th minute when Harry Kewell’s team took the lead, when Folivi took his time to take aim inside the box, and received the fortune of a deflection which helped beat trialist Tom Stewart in the Palace goal.
Corie Andrews then had a pair of chances to draw the Eagles level, and on 33 minutes he pulled an effort wide after finding himself room to hit the target from the edge of the box before forcing Charlie Bannister into a good save from a tight angle, and just ahead of the interval the hosts’ custodian blocked a Nikola Taveres volley with his legs to ensure the Hornets went into the break with their lead intact.
Even with a 15 minute interlude, the opportunities continued to pile up for Palace and seconds after the restart Callum Sturgess made good progress down the left before producing a great cross for Andrews, but the striker could only volley against the post from six yards out.
All the squandered chances would prove costly though as on 56 minutes Richard Shaw’s side would find themselves two-goals down when a miscued clearance by Stewart fell to Ogo Obi, who had the simple task to roll the ball into the net.
And it would be Obi who put the result to bed with 25 minutes remaining when he latched onto a through-ball by Folivi to drill the ball into the bottom corner and clinch the points, and despite a late rally from the visitors they couldn’t initiate any sort of a comeback.
Palace: Stewart, King-Elliott, Tavares, O’Dwyer (Woods 45), Sturgess, McGregor, Flanagan, Kirby (Lokilo 72), Coker (Fundi 81), Williams, Andrews. Sub not used: McAdden.