Palace’s pre-season began with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with Danish side FC Helsingør on Thursday night.
Goals from Alexander Sørloth and Mamadou Sakho cancelled out Douglas’ fifth-minute header but a James Tomkins' 83rd minute own goal secured a share of the spoils.
Perhaps more importantly than the result, Roy Hodgson employed the services of 21 of his 26-man squad, with Nya Kirby the only player to play the full 90 minutes.
Roy Hodgson gave starts to new signing Vicente Guaita, as well as Nya Kirby and Jaroslaw Jach. Jason Puncheon played for the first time since sustaining a knee injury on New Years’ Eve, and captained the tourists. The bench was packed with regular first team players, all of whom came on during the second half.
Palace suffered an early setback when the home side won back-to-back corners in the third minute, and a well-worked cross from TK Kohler found the Brazilian Douglas whose header was too fierce and well placed for Guaita to keep out.
Helsingør’s season begins on July 29th, 13 days before Palace’s Premier League opener against Fulham – and they certainly made their extended preparation count in the first few minutes.
But Palace found their feet, especially in the midfield when 18-year-old Nya Kirby was pulling strings and interchanging well with Jason Puncheon – a player 14 years his senior.
In the 20th minute, Palace struck back – neat footwork from Sullay Kaikai on theright-handd side resulted in a pinpoint cross along the deck where Alexander Sørloth slotted home from the six-yard box, his first goal for the club.
Palace piled the pressure on, and Aaron Wan-Bissaka worked the ball brilliantly to Puncheon whose volley flashed narrowly wide.
In the 28th, Kaikai was involved once again with a sublime pull down and sidestep from a Guaita long ball, earning the striker a free-kick on the edge of the box. Sadly, the free kick was wasted with Kaikai hitting the wall.
1-1 at the break.
Speroni for Guaita and Lokilo for Schlupp were the only half-time changes for Palace. But 10 minutes into the second half, Roy Hodgson made eight changes – with Ward, Tomkins, Sakho, Van Aanholt, Townsend, McArthur, Zaha and Benteke coming on.
Their impact was immediate, as Townsend’s corner picked out Benteke whose header was flicked on by McArthur, and Sakho bundled in at the front post.
A goalmouth scramble at the opposite end sent Palace hearts racing, but Tomkins and Ward between them hacked the ball away. From the resulting corner, Douglas’ header landed over Speroni and on the top of the net.
Midway through the second half, Van Aanholt and Zaha picked up where they left off at the back of last season, interchanging beautifully before the Dutchman’s strike ruffled the side netting.
In the 83rd minute, a cross intended for Patrick Olsen was toe-poked past Speroni by James Tomkins trying to clear his lines, which ultimately secured the draw for the home side.
A wicked corner from TK Kohler in the dying minutes was pawed away by Speroni, and another was brilliantly thwarted by James Tomkins before the final whistle came.
Attendance: 1,518. The Man of the Match was awarded to the home side’s striker Douglas.
Watch highlights, post-match reaction and more on the club’s official app and eagles.cpfc.co.uk.
Palace face Swedish side Halmstads on Monday night - and the game will once again be streamed live on the club's app and eagles.cpfc.co.uk