Shaun Derry’s side were unlucky to fall to defeat against Reading last time out, made to rue a second-half penalty miss when the hosts’ snatched a last-minute winner.
Despite their travails on the road, their recent home form has been exemplary, winning their last three without conceding a goal. After seeing off Burnley at Selhurst Park, they returned to the Academy to face a Leeds United side that has established a huge lead at the top of the table.
Despite once again fielding a strong side – including first-teamer Gaetano Berardi, who has been capped at international level – Leeds were put under pressure by a youthful Palace, and were reduced to ten men after just 20 minutes.
The Eagles took advantage, with Jesurun Rak Sakyi continuing his impressive step-up to this level with his first goal for the Under-23s just after half-time. They refused to be satisfied, and in the final minute they secured the three points through a second from Sion Spence.
It was a sixth goal in as many games for Spence, whose form was rewarded with a call-up to the Wales Under-21s side this week.
Palace currently sit in sixth place in a tightly packed league table, with just eight points separating third and tenth places. Sunderland find themselves in 12th after a tough season, albeit with two games in hand.
The last time these two sides met, the Eagles came out on top in a seven goal thriller. After taking an early lead through Kian Flanagan, they responded to a Sunderland equaliser through Alfie Matthews to go in ahead at the break.
There was no slowing of the pace in the second-half, and despite a late fightback, Shaun Derry’s men held on to secure all three points.
Remember, you can watch all the action and see how the boys get on via Palace TV – click here to find out more.