Crystal Palace’s pre-season began with a bang tonight as they smashed 13 past GAK Graz in Austria in a dominant display of attacking football.
Stephen Dobbie was ruthless in front of goal, netting four times, with Glenn Murray, Jonathan Williams and Joe Ledley all grabbing a brace.
GAK, who play their football in the seventh tier of Austrian football, were offered little compassion by the Premier League side as they raced into a 5-0 half-time lead.
Joe Ledley started the rout after just five minutes with a close range effort before Yannick Bolasie won and converted a penalty just seven minutes later.
Murray then netted twice, the first a well-executed volley, while Jerome Thomas ruffled the back of the net with Palace’s fifth just before the half-time whistle.
Manager Tony Pulis rang the changes at the interval, bringing on eleven fresh faces, including Dobbie and Marouane Chamakh, who has just signed a new two-year contract with the Eagles.
It was the hosts, however, who struck first in the second half as Laurenz Sacher scored what proved to be little more than a consolation goal on 59 minutes.
The goal sparked Palace into life, in particular Dobbie, with the forward netting a hat-trick in a five-minute offensive frenzy.
Palace cemented their control as Ledley and Chamakh took the score to 10-1 with 76 minutes played.
There was still time, however, for Dobbie to grab another goal either side of Williams’ brace, with the modest four-goal hero telling cpfc.co.uk after the game that building fitness levels was more important than running riot on the pitch.
“I’m delighted obviously with the goals, especially as it’s our first run-out,” he said.
“But what’s more important is building the match fitness and getting back to that awareness on the pitch.
“This week was all about fitness and getting confidence for tougher games so the boys will take that into the trip to America next week.”
Palace’s tour of America begins next Wednesday (July 23) in Ohio as they take on Columbus Crew.
The Major League Football side is expected to put up more of a fight than the Austrian minnows did tonight against the soaring Eagles.
Crystal Palace starting team: Hennessey, Mariappa, Dann, Delaney, Jerome Williams, Bolasie, Bannan, Ledley, Thomas, Murray, Gayle.
Crystal Palace second half team: Kettings, Hunt, Ramage, McCarthy, Boateng, Gray, O’Keefe, Campana, Jonathan Williams, Dobbie, Chamakh