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U21 Report: Palace 2-0 Bristol City

PUBLISHED

14:53 20th January 2014


First half strikes from Aaron Wilbraham and Jake Gray ensured Palace's development side returned to winning ways with a comfortable victory against Bristol City.

The Eagles' veteran striker, who returned to first-team action against Stoke City at the weekend, played a part in both goals, nodding in the opener on 28 minutes before teeing up the impressive Gray just before the interval to clinch the victory at Tooting and Mitcham FC.

The game's first real chance came on nine minutes when the visitors should have taken the lead. Joe Bryan and Kevin Kraws played a one-two on the edge of the area and the former saw his shot blocked by Neil Alexander, and the winger was unlucky to see the ball ricochet back off him and over the bar.

During a scrappy opening half hour Palace managed to carve out a couple of half-chances when  Wilbraham hit the side netting and Jonny Williams saw a shot blocked in the after a despairing block by Gus Muputa.

But on 28 minutes the Eagles grabbed the lead. Returning from injury, Gray played an incisive pass into the box for Hiram Boateng to run onto, and he clipped the ball across the face of goal where Wilbraham was lurking to head home from close range.

On his return to action Gray was showing no signs of rustiness and his classy display was topped off with the Eagles' second goal three minutes before the interval. Picking the ball up in a central position, he played it into the feet of Wilbraham who laid it back into his path to drill into the top corner.

The Robins started the second period brightly and got a stroke of luck when a clearance inadvertently hit Owen Garvan and allowed Tyrone Barnett a route through to goal, but the striker showed too much hesitation and Alexander saved at his feet.

Sullay Kaikai came close to scoring his eighth goal in as many games when he jinked inside from the left and forced Richards into a save from a tight angle before Boateng saw his side-footed rebound cleared off the line by the covering Louis Carey.

With the result in the bag, the latter stages of the gave saw Gary Issott's side control proceedings without having to press forward too much, but they nearly had a third when Luke Croll headed a Kaikai free-kick wide of the mark as Palace strolled to their fourth win in their last six league encounters.

Palace: Alexander, Gordon, Dymond, Boateng, McCarthy (Croll 79), Chambers, Gray (Allassani 82), Garvan (G. Sow 60), Wilbraham, Jonny Williams, Kaikai. Subs not used: Gregory, Tieku. 

Bristol City: Richards, Wilson, Hall (O'Leary 79), Muputa, Brundle, Carey, Burns, Wynter, Barnett (Bishop 79), Kraws, Bryan. Subs not used: Fry, Mitchell