Crystal Palace Under-18s fell to a narrow defeat at the hands of a competent Queens Park Rangers side this afternoon at the Academy ground in Beckenham.
Despite their best attempts and enjoying a handful of good, clear opportunities to build on a solitary goal, the Eagles were just edged by the Hoops, who looked to be the marginally superior side from kick-off.
QPR demonstrated their talent early in the clash when Dejarhn Grant exhibited great strength to hold the ball up for Cameron Antwi, who was well tackled by a Palace trialist. However, in the mix as the ball cannoned across the Eagles' box from the challenge, Khaliq Callender latched on and struck home from close range.
A goal down within seven minutes, then, Palace looked to respond through John-Kymani Gordon, who rode a crunching challenge well before breaking through one-on-one with visiting 'keeper Murphy Mahoney. Despite his best efforts, the Hoops' indomitable shot-stopper stood up strongly to block his resulting crack at goal.
The Eagles then saw little of possession, however still managed to record several fine chances. Firstly, Gordon snatched a first-time shot in an attempt to open Palace's scoring, but could only strike the side netting before Jude Russell kissed the post after he'd raced into the box to capitalise on a poorly defended Brandon Aveiro free-kick.
In the half's final attempt for the home side, a fine defensive block from Cian Trehy led to Palace earning another free-kick on the counter-attack, however Aveiro could not score with his second dead-ball and Mahoney held his dipping shot to nullify the threat.
Opening the second half, TQ Addy tried his luck but, having somehow worked his way into a scoring opportunity on the edge of QPR's box, he could only strike low into Mahoney's hands as he ran off-balance.
At the other end of the pitch, it was then Shiwa Remy who warned Palace with a sailing effort over the bar before Addy finally brought his side level at the second time of asking when, from a failed defensive clearance, he reacted fastest in the box and put the ball into the net from six-yards.
The visiting Hoops showed their composure, however, and not long after regained the lead through Pritbiado Isaac as his shot from distance cannoned off the blockade of Palace legs in front of it, thus looping over the out-stretched hand of Jacob Russell.
With only 20-minutes left, QPR did well to remain organised, and frustrated the Palace attack by keeping their discipline and holding the Eagles off despite a barrage of late chances. Addy and Aveiro in particular seemed most determined to score, however their hatful of attempts could not trouble Mahoney into conceding and so Palace finished the match with nothing to show for their efforts as the talented west Londoners returned to their quarter of the capital with three points.
Palace: J. Russell, J.A. Russell, Onoabhagbe, Trehy (Chamberlin-Gayle 45), Trialist (Hanson 69), Trialist, Parris, Gurung, Addy, Aveiro, Gordon.
Subs not used: Luthra, Matthews, Ajayi.
QPR: Mahoney, Drewe, Domi, Remy, Mahorn, Mclean, Callender, Dalipi, Frailing, Antwi, Grant.
Subs: Pitbiado, White, Williams Lowe.