Connor Wickham, Yannick Bolasie and Freddie Ladapo all got themselves on the scoresheet for the first time in Crystal Palace’s 2016 pre-season campaign last night in an enthralling 3-2 victory over League One new boys AFC Wimbledon.
Having beaten a spirited Colchester United side on Monday, Alan Pardew took a very similar group to Kingmeadow on Wednesday evening, as we looked to step up our collective fitness levels ahead of the first Premier League clash of the season in mid-August.
Despite being without the likes of Zaha, McArthur, Tomkins and Sako, all of whom were missing through injury, the players who were chosen put up an extremely good show in the South London sunshine, regrouping after Lyle Taylor’s effort cancelled out Connor Wickham’s opener late in the first-half to press on in the second 45 minutes and add two more well-worked goals to their tally in front of the travelling Palace faithful.
Whilst Freddie Ladapo’s flying header (discussed in more detail here) was undoubtedly the highlight of the night from a red and blue perspective, the aforementioned striker’s fine work in the build up to our second goal was equally impressive.
Having drawn the attention of AFC Wimbledon’s defence after racing clear, the former Margate man jinked his way towards the byline, straining to gain a yard of space before cutting a ball back across the six-yard box to find the feet of the gleeful Yannick Bolasie who readily slotted a close-range strike into the back of the net.
Of course, in the grand scheme of things, pre-season fixtures mean next to nothing once the serious business of league football gets underway but even so, we have now managed to amass a record of three victories, two draws and no defeats in our five summer encounters to date, which is bound to have put a spring in the step of the players ahead of Valencia’s visit next weekend.