SWINDON wrapped up their pre-season campaign with a defeat as Crystal Palace ran out 1-0 winners at The County Ground.
An early Jermaine Easter penalty was enough to give Palace the win and consign the Town to their only defeat of pre-season.
Town were immediately on the front foot: with barely two minutes on the clock, Palace goalkeeper Julian Speroni had to be alert to turn away a low, goal-bound effort from Andy Williams. With Town in the ascendency, Matt Ritchie saw his shot blocked before Palace took the lead somewhat against the run of play.
Wes Foderingham rushed off his line to close down a Palace player advancing on goal and brought him down in the area. Jermaine Easter stepped up and smashed the resultant spot-kick down the middle of the goal to give the visitors an early advantage.
Town set about trying to hit back straight away and almost found a way through minutes after going behind. Williams hit a shot on the half-turn and watched as it struck the inside of the post, bounced across the face of goal and rolled wide.
Undeterred, Swindon continued to press. Tommy Miller’s shot was well held by Speroni and Ritchie’s half-volley flew over the bar. With Palace looking dangerous on the break, Glenn Murray’s shot was blocked by a red shirt before clearing the cross-bar.
Town began the second half as they had ended the first: on the attack. Ritchie’s cross narrowly evaded Troy Archibald-Henville at the far post before the winger’s thumping effort was beaten away by substitute goalkeeper Lewis Price.
Indeed the change of goalkeeper would do nothing to change Town’s fortunes in front of goal as Williams latched onto a through-ball and did well to get a shot away but Price was equal to it. Foderingham at the other end was kept busy by the Palace attack. First he did well to push away Wilfried Zaha’s shot before throwing himself to his right to keep out an accurate free kick.
From the resultant corner, Archibald-Henville had to be alert to head clear off the line. Substitute James Collins couldn’t quite direct Ritchie’s cross goalwards and right on full-time, a scramble from a deep free-kick was hacked clear off the line by a Palace defender.
Town draw a line under their pre-season preparations and focus now turns to Tuesday’s Capital One Cup tie against Brighton at The County Ground.
Town – Foderingham; Caddis, Archibald-Henville (Flint '79), McCormack (Devera '86), McEveley; Ritchie (Rooney '79), Miller, Navarro (Ferry '60), Roberts (De Vita '79); Benson (Collins '64), Williams
Subs: Thompson N, Risser, Flint, Devera, Ferry, Collins, Storey, Rooney, De Vita, Cibocchi, Smith, Thompson L, Bedwell
Palace – Speroni; Ward, Moxey, McCarthy, Martin; Jedinak, Dikgacoi, Williams, Murray; Zaha, Easter
Subs: Wright, Price, Ukay, Marrow, Ramage, Baxter, Appiah, Kossoko, O’Keefe, Parr, Rosa, Garvan