More minutes against Premier League opposition for the Blues
Town continued their pre-season schedule with a hard-fought defeat against Crystal Palace.
Dom Ball and Sone Aluko were on target for the Blues at the Eagles' training ground, with a Luke Plange hat-trick and Christian Benteke strike securing victory for the clinical Premier League Londoners.
Kieran McKenna's side started brightly in the capital, with George Edmundson dealing with some early pressure from Wilfried Zaha before Cameron Humphreys miscued his shot from Wes Burns’ cross at the other end.
Two goals in three minutes saw the hosts move into the ascendancy, though. First, Plange found the bottom corner from inside the box following a pass from Benteke. The same combination reaped the same result moments later, the former finishing from close range after the Belgium international had unselfishly played the ball across the face of the goal.
The Blues regrouped, however, and enjoyed the vast majority of possession and chances for the remainder of the first half.
Rekeem Harper tested Palace 'keeper Owen Goodman from the edge of the box before, midway through the opening period, Ball glanced an in-swinging Aluko corner inches wide of the far corner.
Aluko went close himself upon the half-hour mark, his free-kick sailing just past the post with Goodman flatfooted.
Humphreys’ right-footed effort, coming after beating two men, drifted narrowly wide of the bottom corner shortly afterwards, with Kayden Jackson curling just over the bar a minute later.
Palace made it 3-0 just before the break, with Benteke collecting a lofted through ball before firing into the back of the net.
The hosts extended their lead further following the restart, with Plange bringing down a perfectly-timed pass from Zaha before finishing past Vaclav Hladky to complete his hat-trick.
Town could’ve pulled one back five minutes later but, after Burns had delivered a cross to the back post, Matt Penney volleyed wide.
The Blues did get on the scoresheet with 20 minutes remaining, though, with Ball nodding an Aluko free-kick into the bottom corner.
Aluko doubled Town’s tally eight minutes later with a sublime strike, firing a loose ball on the edge of the area into the top corner of Palace’s goal.
That was to be the last action of note, with Nick Hayes, introduced alongside Fraser Alexander late on, making a smart save in the closing stages to prevent a fifth for the hosts.
Palace: Goodman (Whitworth 46’), D. Boateng (Addae 77'), Ferguson (Sheridan 46’), Guehi (Wells-Morrison 70’), Watson (Bartley 70’), Doucoure (Hughes 46’), Eze (Mooney 88'), Schlupp (Riedewald 77'), Plange (Cadogan 70’), Benteke (Gordon 70’), Zaha (Vigor 88').
Town: Hladky (Hayes 87'), Donacien, Edmundson (Alexander 87'), Ndaba, Penney, Burns, Ball, Harper, Humphreys (Chirewa 70’), Aluko (C), Jackson (Buabo 70’).