If Ian Holloway had the slightest concern about leaving Blackpool to become Crystal Palace's new manager, he need not have worried. Unbeaten in 12 matches, Palace stormed to the top of the Championship after a thumping 5-0 win over Ipswich Town thanks to Glenn Murray's hat-trick and yet another demonstration of Wilfried Zaha's awesome potential. While Ipswich are rooted to the bottom of the league, the memory of Saturday's defeat of Birmingham in Mick McCarthy's first match long gone, Palace are dreaming of the Premier League.

It has all been a blur for Holloway. He only agreed to join Palace on Saturday, when he watched his new side beat Blackburn Rovers from the stands, and this was his first appearance in the dugout at Selhurst Park. Dougie Freedman, the man he replaced after his departure to Bolton Wanderers, enjoyed legendary status in these parts but it is impossible not to instantly warm to Holloway's charm.

As he emerged from the tunnel moments before kick-off, he lapped up the acclaim of the crowd, even shaking hands with one young fan, and with the mood so good, Holloway probably would have embarked on a lap of honour if Murray had not shot inches wide in the first minute. "The energy around the ground is fantastic," a delighted Holloway said. "It's pretty sensational."

But maybe not quite as sensational as his team. There is an invigorating vibrancy to this young Palace side, and their new manager already looks like the perfect fit. Ipswich were unable to contain Palace's urgency and mere huff and puff was not enough once they fell behind. When the breakthrough came after 24 minutes, it was a neat illustration of Ipswich's flaws, their defence freezing as Yannick Bolasie ran on to Owen Garvan's header to lob the stranded Stephen Henderson.

Zaha had been relatively quiet in the first half but he was the catalyst for a breathless start to the second, which saw Palace win three penalties, miss one and still score three times in the space of 13 minutes. First Zaha tortured Carlos Edwards, duping him with a sublime piece of skill before being tripped by Luke Chambers. Murray sent Henderson the wrong way from the spot and then converted when Garvan was pushed by Aaron Cresswell after 55 minutes.

Murray looked certain to complete a hat-trick of penalties seven minutes later after the hapless Chambers brought down Garvan, but this time Henderson was equal to his effort. No problem. Two minutes later, Joel Ward romped past three defenders on the right and crossed for Murray to complete his hat-trick from three yards out. Ipswich, five points from safety, were a sorry, ragged bunch by the end and their misery was completed when Palace's Jonathan Parr set up the substitute André Moritz in stoppage time.

McCarthy described it as "a sobering experience", but added "I didn't come away from Saturday thinking all sweetness and light. I didn't think one victory would turn it all around. We've got a fair bit of work to do. Palace murdered us tonight."

Few sides could live with Palace and Zaha in this sort of form though. Holloway said: "God knows how good this boy is going to be. I have never seen anything like the things he does. I just want to give him the ball all the time.

"As debuts go, that was pretty special. There will be some ups and some downs but at the moment it's all ups. I'd love to be here for a very long time." The way things have started, that is unlikely to be a problem.