In a true game of two halves, Crystal Palace Under-23s dominated the opening exchanges of a tight match before falling to a late defeat against Bristol City.
- Brandon Pierrick returns to the Under-23s
- The Eagles have a number of first-half chances
- Rob Street and Brandon Aveiro go close
- Half-time: Bristol City 0-0 Crystal Palace
- Bristol City grow into the game
- The hosts score a late winner from close-range
- Full-time: Bristol City 1-0 Crystal Palace
It’s the oldest phrase in football, but this really was a game of two halves. The first belonged entirely to Palace, who set the tone right from the off when Rob Street saw a powerful header tipped over the bar after just 30 seconds.
The Robins were unsettled, and Street soon went close again, this time seeing a headed effort blocked by a brave defender.
The Eagles continued to dominate, with Brandon Aveiro proving a particular threat. The wide-man was creating chances at will, and soon had an opportunity to score himself from a free-kick. But fortunately for the hosts, his curling effort flew just wide.
Aveiro was soon involved again, flashing a low effort past the post before John-Kymani Gordon saw a close-range header saved. Although the opening 45 was a one-sided half, it saw its fair share of aggression.
Both teams were eager to impose themselves, and the tackles – fair for the most part – were flying in. The visitors went in to half-time wondering how the scores were still level, but met a much-improved City side after the break.
The Robins gradually took a foothold on the game, and Palace goalkeeper Oliver Webber was twice forced into fantastic saves from one-on-ones. Manager Shaun Derry sent on a trialist as he looked to shift the tide back in his team’s favour, and the newcomer made an immediate impact, seeing a header skim just over.
But as the home team's pressure began to build, Palace became increasingly limited to attacking on the break. Brandon Pierrick and the still-lively Aveiro swapped flanks in an attempt to drag City’s increasingly effective formation out of shape, but it was to no avail.
With just two minutes left on the clock, the hosts went ahead through substitute Sam Bell’s close-range strike.
The south Londoners responded well, and immediately forced a free-kick just outside the area. Bristol City were close to dropping their lead, and up stepped set-piece specialist Aveiro.
His strike had power, but was charged down well by the opponents’ wall. Try as they might to create another last-minute opportunity, the free-kick proved Palace’s last meaningful chance of the match, and left them wondering how they hadn’t managed to get on the scoresheet.
Bristol City: Wiles-Richards, Edwards (Conway), Taylor, Pearson, Low, Towler, Taylor, Lott (Scott), Britton (Bell), Hinds, Rees.
Subs not used: Smith, Robertson.
Palace: Webber, Trialist, Mitchell (Thiselton), Boateng, Hobbs, Rich-Baghuelou, Pierrick, Steele (Mensah), Gordon, Street (Trialist), Aveiro.
Subs not used: Rusell, Addy.