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Kick off 19:00 (UK)

16 January 2020 Venue New Bucks Head Attendance

Kick off 19:00 (UK)

Wolverhampton Wanderers U18
2 - 1
Crystal Palace U18

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Match Previews

Palace Preview: Talented Eagles seek second FA Youth Cup thriller

16 January 2020

Crystal Palace Under-18s are taking on top tier Wolverhampton Wanderers in the FA Youth Cup at 19:00 this evening (Thursday, 16th) and the Eagles will be looking to record another emphatic victory after dispatching Reading in the previous round.

The game will be broadcast live by Palace TV for fans to watch free of charge.

In mid-December, Paddy McCarthy’s Palace were triumphant over the Royals in an end-to-end 4-2 clash at Madejski Stadium. Tonight, they will be looking for similar success against Wolves in the Fourth Round Proper in order to progress to the FA Youth Cup’s Fifth Round, where only 16 teams participate.

Should Palace make it that far, they will face either Chelsea or Bradford City. The Blues have won the Cup nine times, most recently in 2018. Following this stage is the quarter finals, semis and then the final, which will be played on 25th April.

Despite facing a club in the league above them, Palace can be confident against Wolves, as Reading are also an English Under-18 Premier League club. At this level of football, tiers are decided by the clubs’ Academy status, not the league of their first-teams. This means sides such as Reading, Middlesbrough and Stoke City play in the league above top flight teams like Palace and Watford.

SEE ALSO: Palace's strongest FA Youth Cup XI over time

The Eagles are currently fifth in the U18 Professional Development League (second tier), having won all three of their last matches in the competition.

In fact, Palace are playing in a rich vein of form– triumphing 5-2 over Queens Park Rangers last weekend and losing just one of their last six matches in all competitions.

It is exactly two months to the day that McCarthy’s south Londoners failed to score at least three goals in a game, too – highlighting the attacking talent Palace’s Academy team possess.

Aveiro v Reading Youth Cup.jpg

What is the FA Youth Cup?

Academy Director Gary Issott described the FA Youth Cup as "the biggest tournament in youth football."

It has been running since 1952 and sees 400 Under-18 teams from across the country participate. The tournament is dominated by professional Academies, however, and Palace entered it in the Third Round Proper – meaning they missed the four qualifiers and two proper rounds which preceded their arrival.

Famously, Palace’s supposed ‘Team of the Eighties’ won the FA Youth Cup in consecutive campaigns between 1976-78. The teams that lifted those trophies included Kenny Sansom, Vince Hilaire and Jerry Murphy, with Terry Fenwick netting a single goal in each final to clinch victory for the Eagles.

Tactical overview

Back in ’78, Palace’s team was known for its flair and talent going forward, but perhaps their key and often overlooked strength came in defence. With a steadfast back four of Chris Sparks, Kevin Dare, Billy Gilbert and Peter Nicholas in front of goalkeeper David Fry, the south Londoners conceded just three goals from 10 games in the competition.

Now, however, Palace’s key attribute at Under-18 level comes from its attacking play. With a front four of TQ Addy, Brandon Aveiro, Brandon Pierrick and Rob Street, the Eagles are well stocked going forward. The likes of John-Kymani Gordon and Josh Ajayi act as talented alternatives, meaning McCarthy has a wealth of offensive skill to deploy.

Street McCarthy Powell Reading.jpg

Speaking with Palace TV recently, McCarthy described the team by saying: "When they’re on song and when they’re combining and when they’re moving the ball, they’re so difficult to play against for any opposition. 

"I think their movement [v Reading] was excellent, their desire to press, to track runners in wide areas. These are the sort of things we’re trying to teach them on a daily basis."

Palace are buoyed in that they are likely to field several players who have been called-up to represent the Under-23s lately. The likes of Pierrick (who has now featured twice for Palace’s first-team and may miss out due to club’s game Manchester City on Saturday), Street, Malachi Boateng and Jude Russell have all spent time with the Development squad in matches this season, but are expected to be recalled to bolster the Under-18s in their crucial cup clash.

Often, the U18s name players from the Under-16s to provide replacements for those Academy prospects called-up by the Under-23s. Any of the Under-18s making a return to McCarthy's side on Thursday will therefore shore up his options significantly.

How to follow

Palace fans can access a free live broadcast of this game from 18:45 GMT this evening by signing up for or logging in to their free Palace TV account on desktop via or on the club's official app. You can find out more here.

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Match Reports

U18s Report: Palace overcome in tight FA Youth Cup exit

Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 Crystal Palace U18s

16 January 2020

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Crystal Palace Under-18s fell out of the FA Youth Cup this evening against a rampant Wolverhampton Wanderers side, who the Eagles kept quiet for large swathes despite the home side's intense offensive pressure.


  • Palace field a strong attacking lineup including Brandon Pierrick
  • Wolves push the Eagles back with dominant offensive passages
  • The hosts take the lead shortly before half-time through Jed Abbey
  • Half-time: Wolves 1-0 Palace
  • Palace look more comfortable for the second-half
  • The Eagles equalise through substitute John-Kymani Gordon
  • The hosts regain the lead as Theo Corbeanu bends past Jacob Russell
  • Full-time: Wolves 2-1 Palace

At times, the game showed flashes of reflecting last month's Third Round with Reading: Palace the inferior team for much of the first-half before settling down and launching a heroic resurgence. 

Facing a strong, confident home side, Palace were dealt a prolonged early warning as Wolves pinned the visiting Eagles back throughout the game’s opening 10 minutes.

The hosts enjoyed several clear chances, with Chem Campbell, Connor Carty and Hugo Bueno enjoying a trio of efforts between them.

But Palace’s strength was always going to be in attack tonight and, as they had against Reading in the previous round of the cup, Palace found their rhythm after settling down and served Wolves a bout of their own offensive vigour.

02 FAYC Wolves Aveiro.jpg

Two of the Eagles’ forward diamond - Rob Street and Brandon Aveiro - threatened their hosts, but each of the youngsters hit the ball wide of goal.

Palace’s signal was clear: they were in the game as much as the Wanderers, but Wolves paid heed to the south Londoners’ warning. Adept in possession, Steve Davis’ side controlled the ball with confidence and held on to it for a near uninterrupted two-minutes until Campbell blazed high and wide of goal with a fierce shot.

Wolves continued to keep Jacob Russel warm in the Palace goal, but the Eagles were resolved and continued to hold off their adversaries throughout an intense 40-minutes. The visitors' defensive commitment was highlighted by a perfectly timed challenge from Aidan Steele, who arched his ankle around the ball at Carty’s feet in the box to keep the home side out.

01 FAYC Wolves .jpg

But the Under-18s couldn’t hold their opponent at bay for all of the first-half, and Wolves finally broke the deadlock via Jed Abbey, who struck home at the far post on the end of Bueno’s lofted cross.

Though the second-half began at a somewhat slower tempo, Palace looked far more accomplished and with every minute that passed with the score at 0-1, the Eagles appeared closer and closer to pulling level.

Recent first-team option Brandon Pierrick departed after an hour of play to be replaced by John-Kymani Gordon, and Palace shaped-up in a more conventional 4-4-2 for the game’s remaining half an hour. The substitution appeared to be a stroke of genius and Gordon inspired his team to an emphatic leveller as he jinked and danced in front of Wolves’ defence before sliding home from 12 yards.

04 FAYC wolves Gordon.jpg

The hosts had been punished for not capitalising on earlier chances and the Eagles, it seemed, had found their perch.

Working in Palace’s favour, Wolves’ flair was still clearly evident, but their high-tempo approach took its toll as the clock ticked into its final 15 minutes.

Alas, flair triumphed over endurance when the home side regained the lead through Theo Corbeanu’s well-curled shot from distance. Afterwards, Palace ‘keeper Russell was again called into action after 80 heroic minutes of battling to provide his side a chance as he reached low and fast to deny Campbell’s long range shot.

Knocking on the Wanderers' door for one final push as the Eagles hunted an extra-time-triggering equaliser, Palace fought valiantly to pull level once more. But their push wasn't quite enough and, despite the booming encouragement of Paddy McCarthy and determination of the talented Academy team, Wolves progressed in the FA Youth Cup to the south Londoners' detriment.

Wolves: Young, Abbey, Estrada, Marques, Richards, Bueno, Corbeaunu (Hesketh 89), Parker, Carty, Cundle, Campbell.

Subs: Hoonett, Smith, Sangare, Harkin, Kanoola, Birtwistle.

Palace: Jacob Russell, Thisleton, Adaramola, M.Boateng, Jude Russell, Chamberlin-Gayle, Steele, Aveiro (Mooney 83), Addy (Ajayi 87), Street, Pierrick (Gordon 60).

Subs: Whitworth, Wright, Siddik, Smith.

This game was broadcast live to Palace fans free of charge via Palace TV. Stay tuned for post-match reaction and highlights by clicking here or 'Palace TV' in the official app!

Palace TV.jpg

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