Crystal Palace Under-23s recorded a well-earned victory over Cheshire club Crewe Alexandra on Wednesday afternoon, claiming all three points thanks to a goal scored following sumptuous link-up play between Jason Lokilo and Kian Flanagan.
- The game's first half peters out without much action.
- Both sides enjoy a handful of half chances, with Palace seeming dominant.
- After several near-misses from distance, Flanagan strikes home to take the lead.
- The hosts hit the crossbar but Palace hold out and return to London as victors.
In a fairly uneventful first half, Palace showed signs of dominance early on and enjoyed the better share of the few chances initially exhibited at the Railwaymen's Gresty Road.
Nya Kirby looked sharp as he tore around the centre of the park, disturbing the home side's midfield. His first effort of the clash span out for a corner as it deflected hard from a fine shot which followed the 19-year-old's jinking run.
But Crewe were to have their own chances in the face of Palace's confidence, and Lewis Reilly came close to opening the scoring in unlikely circumstances when he headed over from 18-yards on the end of a well-placed James Jones cross.
Kirby unleashed another eye-catching effort at goal which this time whistled wide unaided. The sharp-shooting Gio McGregor then followed suit and sought to replicate last week's majesty with a first time strike from 25 yards flying past Dave Richards' goalposts.
Following Jones' foul on a tricky Kirby, the Eagles unleashed another remarkable effort via Lokilo, whose speculative free-kick from nearly 30-yards had to be held by a grateful Richards.
Three attempts then followed for the hosts as Jones struck a trio of efforts within 10 seconds of each other only to be blocked each time by an indomitable Ryan Inniss - showing one of his key strengths.
Eventually, however, the deadlock was broken at the other end of the pitch when Lokilo played the second half of a one-two with Flanagan off the back of his heel and into the path of Palace's onrushing midfielder. Just within the box, Flanagan struck with assurance and netted the visitor's deserved goal low to Richards' right.
With that shot, the game was won and in spite of cannoning the ball off the crossbar via Christian Mbulu, Crewe were beaten by an impressive Palace display.
Crewe Alexandra: Richards, Johnson, Adebisi, Lundstram, Mbulu, Sass-Davies, Dale, Jones, Reilly, Finney, Ainley.
Subs: Heath, Booth, Offord, Griffiths.
Palace: Henry, Tavares, Hobbs (D.Boateng 1), Inniss, Woods, Pierrick, McGregor, Flanagan, Lokilo, Kirby (M.Boateng 60), Daly (Street 70).
Subs not used: Webber, Mensah.
Highlights of this clash are now available to watch in full for free now via Palace TV. Simply click here or 'Palace TV' in the app!