Paddy McCarthy’s under-18s saw their unbeaten start to the campaign end as the succumbed to a sobering 5-0 defeat at the hands of a strong Sheffield Wednesday.
The game began immediately in the Owls’ favour as a fluke cross found its way into the Palace net at a frustrating, troubling height. A mirror image of the goal came on Sheffield’s opposite side shortly after but was dealt with this time by a Palace defence, keen to tighten up from their earlier leak.
Going forward, the Eagles threatened as Will Donkin hit the opposition’s byline before cutting the ball back to a debuting Keutcha who struck his shot just wide
At the other end of the pitch, Rohan Luthra was called into action to pull off a strong save to his right, denying the Owls their second of the morning. However, Wednesday's high-pressing offence and probing balls kept Palace camped in their own half and the Yorkshire side were swiftly rewarded by a succession of goals.
They netted their first of three quick-fire strikes with a strong, unsaveable effort that fizzed its way into Palace’s net following a bullying break into the box, and two minutes later, the visitors repeated the achievement as the Eagles were overrun in the area during the heat of an unrelenting assault from their opposition.
Having brought the half’s tally up to three, the Owls were seemingly unsatisfied and again broke through the right of Palace’s 18-yard box to set up a striker for an unmissable goal and make it 4-0.
The Eagles had a chance to reduce the scoreline before half-time when Joshua Ajayi and Donkin linked up well to send an effort ricocheting off the visiting ‘keeper’s legs before Luthra put his body on the line to claim a ball from Sheffield’s talented forward, taking a knock in the process.
At the break, McCarthy elected to change his line-up and the effect was obvious minutes after the second half kicked off, and a smart save denied Ajayi’s stinging effort and a pair of calm hands collected Martin Onoabhagbe’s thunderous header.
Sadly, however, for all of Palace’s pressure, it was the visitors who were celebrating next as their mesmeric winger split the defence he faced to net with conviction to round off the scoring on a disappointing afternoon for McCarthy's team.
Palace: Luthra, Matthews, Russell (Quick 55), Gurung, Onoabhagbe, Hanson (Watson 45), Keutcha, Boateng, Ajayi, Donkin (Malcolm 45), Aveiro. Subs not used: Parris, Russell.