Crystal Palace continued their unbeaten start to pre-season on Saturday, coming from behind to beat Oxford United 3-1, with all of their goals coming after the interval.
Boss Roy Hodgson took a strong side with him to face Shaun Derry’s men, including the much discussed Wilfried Zaha and it was the 25-year-old who opened the scoring for the Eagles.
Having fallen behind to a goal from Jonathan Obika, who had latched onto a ball over the top before rounding a helpless Wayne Hennessey and slotting into the back of the net, Zaha drew Palace level with what was undoubtedly the best goal of the afternoon.
Played in on the right-hand side of the pitch, the academy graduate matched up his covering defender at full pace, did a single step-over and breezed past him at startling speed before smashing a shot high across the face of the keeper and into the top left-hand corner of the net. He immediately ran over to the travelling Palace contingent and blew them a kiss in celebration; not exactly the actions of a man who is desperately pining for a move away.
Just a few minutes later, Palace had taken the lead when good work from Zaha inside the penalty area resulted in the ball being tucked back to Jeffrey Schlupp from close-range, giving him the simple task of scoring to put he and his teammates in the ascendancy.
The scoring was completed in the final five minutes when Andros Townsend found himself in space on the left-hand side of the penalty area, allowing him to pull a ball back to Sullay Kaikai some 15 yards out. He academy star made no mistake with his shot, rolling it calmly into the bottom left-hand corner like a snooker player making the perfect long pot.
Plenty feel as though pre-season friendlies have absolutely no significance but the momentum we’re building is certainly a comfort after the turbulent 12 months we’ve all endured. Let’s hope it’s a sign of things to come rather than a sense of false hope.