Colchester United's U23s fell to only their third defeat of the season on Monday afternoon, as a strong Crystal Palace side ran out 4-0 winners.
Sullay Kaikai, who has enjoyed productive loan spells with Shreswbury and Brentford in recent seasons, grabbed a hat-trick as the home side eased to victory.
He opened the scoring after just six minutes, tapping home from a knock down to break the deadlock in the early stages.
And the game was taken further away from the U's as Bakary Sako was on hand to stab home from a corner to make it 2-0.
The U's tried to get back into the game but fell three behind just before half-time as Kaikai was on hand to double his personal tally.
The visitors managed to hold firm in the second half and it was only four minutes from time that the home side were able to round off the afternoon's scoring.
It was Kaikai once again and, having hit the bar earlier in the second period, he completed his treble as he reacted to a knockdown in the box to beat Dan Wilks.