Crystal Palace ran out comfortable 5-0 winners over Dulwich Hamlet on a wet evening at Tooting & Mitcham’s Imperial Fields, thanks to goals for Max Meyer, Sullay Kaikai, Connor Wickham, James Daly and Kian Flanagan.
With Hamlet currently homeless given their ongoing battle over the rightful ownership of Champion Hill, Palace agreed to play a fundraising game against them in the middle of the international break; allowing a number of fringe first-team players to get minutes under their belts, including the slowly recovering duo of Scott Dann and Connor Wickham.
As you would expect when a non-league side takes on a team with international players sprinkled throughout the XI, there was a sizeable gulf in quality from the very start, as shown by German Max Meyer opening the scoring. The former Schalke man was mightily impressive on the night and is yet to put a foot wrong in Palace colours; we can only hope Roy decides to give the former Schalke man a starting role against Everton in eight days’ time.
Sullay Kaikai hit an absolute thunderbolt into the Hamlet goal from distance to double the Eagles’ lead and show the gaffer what he is capable of after deciding not to head out on loan. First-team chances are understandably limited for the academy graduate but with something of a goal-scoring crisis in SE25, his services may well be called upon in the not too distant future.
Connor Wickham, appearing off the bench to a heroes welcome after the interval stretched the lead to three with a thumping header, putting a cherry on top of what was an extremely heartening display after so long out of action.
James Daly added a fourth shortly after, tapping in from close range before Kian Flanagan rounded off the scoring with a beautifully struck effort from outside the area as time dragged on. Yes, the gap in class between ourselves and the opposition was there for all to see from the moment the game kicked off but even so, 5-0 wins are pleasing whenever they arrive; particularly when it coincides with the happy return of an injured player or two.
Let’s hope, specifically in the case of Dann and Wickham, they’re not too far away from a first-team appearance.