Richard Shaw's Under-23 side succumbed to a tough loss this afternoon away to league leaders Ipswich Town.
Three strikes in the first-half for the home side set the Eagles facing an impossible uphill battle that they fought valiantly to overcome but ultimately Palace couldn’t claw back a place in the game against a dominant host.
The match was a contest between first and second and provided Palace’s first loss in four matches, taking Ipswich five points clear at the top of the Professional Development League South.
The Blues took the lead early on, when Conor McKendry struck a free-kick at Joe Tupper who could only parry into the path of Shane McLoughlin before he turned the ball into an empty net.
Less than 10 minutes later, Rob Street, beginning to step up from the Under-18s, almost opened Palace’s account for the afternoon but was denied by an impressive Harry Wright save.
However, despite Palace’s promising response, it was the hosts who found themselves celebrating next as Ben Folami doubled their lead at the back-post from McLoughlin’s testing cross.
Ipswich were leading the game and Kai Brown was unlucky not to extend their dominance when he fired over the bar from close-range after half an hour.
Approaching half-time, it seemed that the match's first period would conclude at 2-0, but a dramatic closing five minutes sealed the initial spell of play in remarkable fashion. Firstly, Ipswich added another to their lead when Conor McKendry struck from the edge of the box to give the home side a seemingly unassailable lead.
However, despite the three goal deficit, Palace applied a spell of late pressure on Ipswich which yielded a goal following an El Mizouni handball in the box. Kian Flanagan stepped up to convert the awarded penalty and in doing so gave Palace a chance at a memorable comeback on the stroke of half-time.
It only took the Blues ten minutes to add to their tally in the second-half, though, and Brown netted from close range to seemingly end any hopes of a Palace fightback.
Two minutes later, Tupper produced an excellent save to foil Mizouni’s ranging 25-yard effort as Palace sat on the back-foot.
It was Nikola Tavares, back from international duty with Croatia's Under-20 squad, who doubled their goal tally as a quieter second-half drew to a close. His header on 86 minutes gave the visitors a glimmer of hope but Folami concluded the afternoon’s proceedings by adding Ipswich’s fifth as he rifled the ball into Tupper’s top corner.
Ipswich: Wright, Cotter, Kenlock, Smith, Ndaba, McGavin, McKendry, McLoughlin, El Mizouni, K. Brown, Folami.
Subs: Ware, Marshall, Clements, Dobra.
Palace: Tupper, D Boateng, Onoabhagbe, Tavares, Mitchell, Robertson, McGregor, Flanagan, Addy, Lumeka, Street.
Subs: Luthra, Baptiste, M Boateng, Hungbo.