Crystal Palace Under-18s drew level with Fulham at the top of the U18s Premier League South with a comfortable 4-0 victory over a struggling Southampton side.
- Jack Wells-Morrison heads against the post early.
- Whitworth makes great save at opposite end to keep the scores level.
- Maliq Cadogan strikes well with his left foot to open the scoring.
- HT: Crystal Palace 1-0 Southampton
- Half-time substitute Kevin Gonzalez scores a well worked goal to double Palace’s lead.
- Kaden Rodney makes it three just moments later.
- Cadogan puts finishing touches on good display with a fourth goal late on.
- FT: Crystal Palace 4-0 Southampton
The U18’s side started today’s game against bottom of the table Southampton looking to continue a four game unbeaten run, in the knowledge that three points would draw them level with table topping Fulham.
The away side started at a frenetic pace, trying to press high and force mistakes from Palace defenders, but Joe Whitworth in goal illustrated his excellent passing range to beat the press.
In the ninth minute, Maliq Cadogan weaved his way into the box after a nice exchange with Dylan Thistleton and looked to be tripped by a Southampton player, but the referee didn’t point to the spot.
After another half-hearted penalty appeal the ball was lofted across the area to Jack Wells-Morrison, who headed against the right post from the six-yard box. It was a decent chance, with the skilful number 10 becoming more involved in the game.
The visitors looked to take the lead from a fast counter attack, with Jayden Smith venturing down the right side and cutting the ball back to Kazeem Olaigbe. Pushing the ball past Dan Quick, he fizzed a shot towards the bottom corner which Joe Whitworth saved expertly down to his right, a warning sign for the Eagles despite the Saints’ league position.
The following 10 minutes saw McCarthy’s team begin to stamp their authority and press higher. The next significant chance fell to Wells-Morrison again, as Tayo Adaramola whipped in an inviting cross to the back post which Victor Akinwale headed back across goal. Wells-Morrison followed it in and was agonisingly close but couldn’t quite get his studs to the ball.
Just before half-time, the south Londoners’ high press paid off as they caught Southampton trying to play out from the back. Tayo Adaramola and David Omilabu won the ball back and Kaden Rodney played a good ball into Cadogan. Cadogan glided past his marker, shifting it onto his left foot and firing into the bottom corner to give Palace the lead.
The visitors had battled well up until that point, but looked disheartened not to be level at the break and McCarthy and his coaching staff would have been the happier in the dugout.
Both sides looked to start the second half on the front foot and the visitors threatened with a couple of set-pieces which came to nothing. Southampton’s right back Otseh-Taiwo put in a lovely cross which Romeno Mitchell tried to attack, but Thistleton did enough to put him off before Dan Quick could clear.
Soon, Palace began to turn the screw. David Omilabu found space down the left, and played a well-timed pass to the overlapping Adaramola. The left-back cut the ball back to Gonzalez, who calmly slotted into the right corner to make it 2-0.
It was a very well worked goal from McCarthy’s side, and as the Saints kicked off again they looked hungry to finish the game. Winning the ball back instantly, Gonzalez played the ball down the right for Akinwale, whose shot was saved well by Ollie Wright – but the ball came out to Kaden Rodney who half volleyed nicely into the bottom left corner to make it 3-0 and seal the three points.
As the clock ticked down, they put the game beyond any doubt. A set-piece sent in by Omilabu was met by an athletic leap from Dan Quick, who headed towards goal; Cadogan took control and smashed past Wright from three yards.
Southampton battled well for large stretches of the game but Palace’s confidence and high press combined with their pace up front, which was ultimately too much for the side rooted to the bottom.
Palace: Whitworth, Thiselton, Adaramola, Steele (c), Sheridan, Quick, Omilabu, Rodney, Akinwale (Ozoh, 84) Wells-Morrison (Gonzalez, 45) Cadogan
Subs not used: Ling, Goodman, Ola Adebomi
Southampton: Wright, Otseh-Taiwo, Rodriguez, Finnigan (Squires, 57) Tizzard, Pambou (Carson, 45) Smith, Payne, Bellis, Olaigbe, Mitchell
Subs not used: Rosi-Lane, Beach, Pearce.