Crystal Palace Under-18s earned an impressive 2-0 victory over Charlton Athletic on Saturday afternoon with David Omilabu scoring both Palace goals for the second game running following his brace against Millwall last week.
- Palace withstand an early spell of Charlton pressure
- David Omilabu shows excellent composure to fire the visitors in front
- Half-time: Charlton 0-1 Palace
- Palace defend well to restrict Charlton’s second-half chances
- Omilabu capitalises on a goalkeeping error to make it 2-0 in the 81st minute
- Full-time: Charlton 0-2 Palace
Charlton started the game on the front foot as the opening 10 minutes were largely played in Palace’s half, and they almost took an early lead after Charlie Barker directed his close-range header over the bar having met the ball at the back post.
However, a clinical Palace side broke the deadlock when Jesuran Rak-Sakyi picked out the in-form Omilabu in the middle of the box. The striker controlled the ball before showing great awareness to lift his powerful effort over the goalkeeper and into the top right-hand corner.
Palace appeared to gain confidence from Omilabu’s opener as they immediately looked to further probe the Charlton defence. Ellison Wright was whiskers away from doubling the visitors’ advantage when he powered his shot into the side-netting, though the score remained at 1-0.
The midfield battle was a prevailing theme in the opening period, but Charlton were looking to utilise their aerial threat whenever they worked the ball into the Palace final third. The hosts thought they had levelled proceedings when Aaron Henry’s in-swinging corner looped all the way into the net, but the referee cancelled out the strike for a foul in the build-up.
At the other end, Palace continued to press with the half drawing to a close as Victor Akinwale darted into the right-hand side of the box before skidding a teasing ball across the face of goal. Frustratingly, both Omilabu and Lion Bello couldn't quite stretch to meet the loose pass before it drifted out of play.
The early stages of the second period saw Palace manage the game effectively as they prevented their opponents from creating any clear chances. But it was in fact the visitors who had the first major opportunity when Akinwale drilled his strike over the bar from the right-hand side of the box.
The game’s next goal would likely prove decisive, and Charlton were inches away from opening their account when the unmarked Barker rose to meet a dangerous corner before directing his stooping header just wide of goal.
The Eagles were presented a golden opportunity to double their tally when Kai Garande’s defensive error permitted Omilabu to race through on goal, but the frontman saw his low one-on-one effort parried away by an alert Nathan Harvey in the Charlton goal.
The home side looked to use Harvey’s vital save as a springboard to muster another attack, and this resulted in a dramatic scramble inside the Palace penalty box as Billy French, Luca Albon and Terrel Agyemang all saw their quick-fire strikes thwarted.
However, after this succession of chances at either end, it was Palace who scored the game’s second goal in the 81st minute as Omilabu capitalised on a goalkeeping error by stealing the ball from Harvey before squeezing it into the net for his fourth goal in two games.
This incisive finish presented Palace with the two-goal cushion they'd been craving throughout the second-half, and it all but eliminated the possibility of a Charlton comeback. Palace then managed the game astutely in the closing stages to seal another success against London-based opposition.
Charlton: Harvey, Barton, Aidoo (Campbell 59), Henry, Barker, French, Albon, Agyemang, Santos, Williams (? 80), Afrane-Kesey.
Palace: Jacob Russell, Jude Russell, Siddik (Woodman 74), Olopade, Quick, Jessup, Wright, Rak-Sakyi (Ling 86), Akinwale, Omilabu, Bello (Adaramola 83).