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Under 21s- Palace 1 Stoke 2

9 April 2013

Two early goals meant that Palace's development side fell to defeat in their game against Stoke City at Tooting and Mitcham's Imperial Fields.

The Palace line up included for the first time since receiving international clearance, Aruna Dindane. Also on loan Alex Nimely was back again from injury that had ruled him out of all but one appearance since joining from Manchester City, and both players completed 70 minutes without any sign of a problem.

Palace otherwise fielded a similar side to the one the previous week, while Stoke's team didn't include any names familiar from their Premier League exploits.

Barely was there time to take a seat in the stand before the Potters took an early lead.

A cross from the right flank near to the corner flag was uncharacteristically missed by Ryan Inniss and Stoke's Adam Thomas had a simple tap in at the back post from a few yards out to give them the lead.

The first Eagles attempt at goal came three minutes later. Aaron Aruruka's run down the right wing found Ibra Sekajja in the middle but his header was blocked by a defender. As Stoke cleared their lines the ball fell to Alex Wynter around 25 yards out on the right and he struck the ball well, only to see the shot caught cleanly by the 'keeper.

A few more minutes passed and Dindane then went close to a goal with a header from a corner on the right from Sulaiman KaiKai that was just wide of the post.

Then Stoke imposed themselves again with another goal in simliar circumstances. This time it was a corner from the right which was met centrally in the box by a firm header from midfielder Jordan Richardson to make it 2-0.

Richardson then went close again in the 22nd minute. A free kick on the left outside the area was struck cleanly and it took a diving save from Lewis Price to his left to parry the ball away for a corner.

In response, Palace were replying with attacks into their opponents half, and one of these then paid off with 10 minutes left before half time.

Collecting the ball centrally, Sekajja sprinted forward towards the area before passing to his right where Dindane was running into position. The striker took another yard before unleashing a crisp strike from a slightly acute angle across the'keeper and fired home into the bottom left corner of the net for 2-1.

Palace took confidence and Darcy Blake tried a half volley in the box from a corner which the 'keeper caught on 38 minutes, but the score remained 2-1 to Stoke at half time.

The second half began with both sides unchanged, and Palace went close on 47 minutes when KaiKai stepped up with an attempt in the middle from just outside the box that went over the bar.

Again Richardson was a threat for Stoke 10 minutes into the second period when he tried his luck. This time it was a dipping shot from outside the box on the left that flashed across goal, the diving 'keeper and goal post, after Blake's half clearance landed at his feet.

The game remained largely a midfield competition before Matt Parsons cut in from the left wing on 76 minutes trying his luck with a shot that floated over the bar but not too far wide.

With minutes remaining the final notable act for Palace was for Sekajja to chase down a long ball with an attempted header as he got into the box. Stoke's goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann just beating him to it with a clean take.

That was the final notable incident in the game, and Stoke left London with all three points.

Stoke City: Bachmann, Keane, Parry, Nkumu, Rigg, Thomas, Richardson, Dawson, Hands, Hall, Marsden (Musungu, 87)

Unused Subs: Eve, Campbell, Glasgow, Cook.

Crystal Palace: Price, Akuruka, Inniss, Blake, Parsons, Kaikai, Wynter, Dymond (Boateng, 72), Nimely (Daniel, 72), Sekajja, Dindane (Gray, 72)

Unused Subs: Allassani, King.

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