Palace celebrated clinching the Professional Development League South title by cruising to an easy victory against Crewe Alexandra at Gresty Road, scoring twice in each half.
Richard Shaw’s team were already guaranteed top spot and a home berth in the play-offs which will ultimately determine the national champions, but they still put in an efficient display against the Railwaymen to remain unbeaten in their last five games and add to their impressive goal tally.
Things began well for the home side who struck the woodwork after just 11 minutes when Lewis Reilly whipped a cross into the area and Oliver Finney saw a shot clatter off the post, but just after the half-hour mark two goals in the space of six minutes would turn the game in the Eagles’ favour.
Firstly, some good work by Levi Lumeka gave him the opportunity to put a cross in from the left, and Nya Kirby was on hand to fire past David Richards in the Crewe goal to register his fourth of the campaign, and then on 38 minutes he turned provider when he delivered a free-kick into the perfect spot for James Daly to head in his seventh goal in 10 under-23 games this term.
That handed Shaw’s team a healthy lead at the break, which was made even more comfortable four minutes into the second half when Daly was brought down inside the area, and Jason Lokilo blasted the ball into the top corner from 12 yards despite Richards getting a hand to it.
The keeper had a moment to forget with six minutes to go when Kian Flanagan tested his luck from range and found the net after Richards let the ball squeeze past him to round off the scoring, but not before the hosts struck the woodwork again when Reilly bent a free-kick over the wall which Joe Tupper did brilliantly to tip on his crossbar to keep his clean sheet intact.
Palace: Tupper, Stabana, Bryon, Brown, Mitchell, McGregor, Kirby (Hungbo 45), Lokilo (Dreher 77), Flanagan, Lumeka, Daly (Street 85). Subs: Funnell, Robertson.