Crystal Palace got another pre-season win under their belts last night, coming out on top in a five-goal thriller against AFC Wimbledon.
Having been given the lead in the 29th minute thanks to a Connor Wickham header, Palace were pegged back to level terms five minutes before the interval when the Dons’ Lyle Taylor prodded home an equaliser from close-range.
The second half brought a number of changes, including the introduction of the aforementioned Ladapo and academy graduate Ben Wynter, with the former providing the spark which saw Palace re-take the lead through Yannick Bolasie in the 68th minute.
After forcing his way past one or two Wimbledon defenders, Freddie strained to get a decent ball across the six-yard box, managing to find Bolasie in the centre of the goal for what was a routine finish. Whilst Ladapo has been signed for his obvious goalscoring threat, this showcased another impressive string to his bow.
The third goal, when it arrived in the 77th minute was a moment of genuine quality all round from Palace, seeing Wynter use the space afforded to him on the right flank to flight a wonderfully directed cross into the path of the grateful Ladapo, who flung himself towards the ball with real enthusiasm before seeing his header fly past the Dons keeper and into the corner of the net. His subsequent celebration said it all; a first goal in professional football is a huge moment for anyone, regardless of the setting.
The scoring was rounded off a minute later when Pape Souare misjudged the positioning of Julian Speroni, heading a ball into an unguarded net from some 15 yards out; an embarrassing moment for sure, but one that we can all chalk down to experience in an otherwise well played friendly display.
We’re edging closer and closer to the return of real football; who knows, Freddie Ladapo could well be the star striker we’ve been searching for all summer.