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U21 League: Fulham 1 Palace 4

3 September 2012

The Palace under 21s side picked up their first points of the season on Sunday afternoon with a fine performance and a 4-1 victory over last years under-18 champions, Fulham.

In pleasant surroundings at Fulham's Motspur Park training ground, the Eagles put on a good display and were worthy winners over their London neighbours.

There were one or two changes to manager Jamie Fullarton's side from the Liverpool game the previous Monday.

With Andy Dorman having departed, Stuart O'Keefe was brought in to the centre of midfield and Kwesi Appiah partnered Ibra Sekajja up front.  Kyle DeSilva came into the team on the left wing with Kadell Daniel dropping to left back.

Palace pressed early and had the ideal start when they took the lead in the 13th minute.

Some great approach work on the left from Bayan Fenwick saw him beat the defender and deliver a telling cross into the box for Appiah at the far post, who headed into the roof of the net to give Palace an early advantage.

The Eagles, with some good approach play from their forward players, then pressed Fulham again five minutes later when O'Keefe advanced towards the area but fired his shot wide of the right post.  A great example of the link up play came with almost half an hour gone.

De Silva passed to Appiah who knocked it back to De Silva again and he found Fenwick approaching on the right who struck a shot straight into the arms of the Fulham goalkeeper Somogyi. 

With just over half an hour gone there were three more chances for Palace.

First Jack Holland rose highest to meet Fenwick's corner from the right, but his header was a couple of yards over the bar. Then almost immediately some more good work on the right. Alex Wynter delivered the ball to Appiah, but his shot was went just wide of the goal.

Almost straight from the goal kick Palace pushed forward again with good movement. Sekajja was played into the penalty box in space, but despite having a good chance to extend the lead, he waited a moment too long on the ball and the 'keeper was out to block his effort.

Fulham midfielder Jack Grimmer then had a chance from distance, but he shot wide following a corner from the left.

Palace had spent the whole half producing a commanding performance and remained well on top, when suddenly on the stroke of half time the home side were back on level terms. 

On the left of the box, Fulham Winger Charles Banya was allowed slightly too much time and taking on the Palace defence he squared the ball across the area where striker Marcello Trotta was waiting to steer home a left footed strike from six yards past the diving Ross Fitzsimons.

So one a piece at half time and Palace began the second period unchanged and right after the re-start signalled the same intent as the first period.

In the first minute Daniel took a free kick won outside the area, but struck from some distance it was a comfortable save for the 'keeper.

But with only five minutes gone of the half Palace took a 2-1 lead with a great counter-attacking move.

Fulham had a corner on the right but Palace cleared from their ranks. Showing the benefits of having a man up while defending a corner, Appiah was waiting on the half way line to the right, holding off a Fulham defender. As the ball came out he held it up before laying a perfect pass onto the running Fenwick who was making his way forward down the middle.

The young midfielder was inch perfect with his timing and held off the defender alongside him, before arriving in the Fulham box and placing a perfect shot low and into the bottom right past the goalkeeper for 2-1.

It then got better for Palace who extended their lead only five minutes later.

Receiving the ball in the box just to the left, Sekajja moved smartly and fired a shot goalbound that hit the right post before ricocheting into the back of the net for the third.

Despite having a well deserved lead, the young Eagles held their resolve as was proven moments later when keeper Fitzsimons made a smart close range parry by his left post from a Fulham snapshot from left back Kavanagh.

Fulham then had three chances in quick succession with a header over and two shots at Fitzsimons but Palace held firm.

Then with 15 minutes to go they wrapped up the game with a deserved fourth.

Breaking into the Fulham box, Sekajja snapped off a shot that the goalkeeper managed to parry up in the air. Waiting however for the rebound was Appiah and he slid the ball home for his second and Palace's fourth.

There was just time for one last moment of drama in the 83rd minute. Fulham striker Trotta had his ankled clipped by Wynter and the chance went over. The referee awarded a penalty and the same player stepped up and took it only to be met by a fine dive to his right from Fitzsimons who kept his concentration to push the ball away to safety.

The whistle blew shortly afterwards and Palace got a well deserved three points and a fine result in their under-21 campaign with a fine performance.

Palace Team: Fitzsimons, Wynter, Daniel, Taylor, Holland, O'Keefe, Fenwick, Boateng, Sekajja, Appiah, DeSilva

Subs: Banton (For Fenwick '75), King, Akuruka (For Boateng '87), Allassani, Croll

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