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Under 21s: Palace 1 Norwich 5

11 March 2013

A young Palace side went down to a heavy defeat against Norwich, as Gary Issott's team were made to pay for some sloppy defensive errors in a game more even than the scoreline would suggest.

The Eagles actually started the better of the two sides and Stuart O'Keefe soon won a free-kick in a dangerous position. That allowed set-piece specialist Sullay Kaikai his first sight at goal and though he beat the wall, Remi Matthews was equal to his strike. A poor clearance from the keeper then gave Kadell Daniel a sight of goal but again the Norwich keeper proved better with his hands than his feet to keep the sides level.

George Francomb began to show his ability on the right wing, as his battle with the ever-impressive Matt Parsons intensified, and with Norwich now on the front foot Francomb saw his goalbound effort tipped round the post by David Gregory. Gregory's clean sheet didn't last much longer though, as Palace failed to deal with the resulting corner and Josh Murphy swivelled in the six yard box to give the Canaries the lead.

Parsons was proving Palace's best attacking option from full-back but the Eagles were soon two behind as a quick break saw Jamar Loza tee-up Francomb on the edge of the box and the winger dispatched a clinical finish past Gregory. There was almost a third for Norwich before half-time, but Ramil Sheriff somehow failed to connect with Josh Murphy's perfectly placed free-kick. At the other end Kwesi Appiah linked nicely with Kyle De Silva but the young winger's volley arched narrowly wide as the gap remained at two.

Palace made two changes at half-time as Joel Ward completed his first 45 minutes after injury and Aaron Akuruka took his place, while Ibra Sekajja replaced Daniel. Those changes led to some better football from Palace in the first 15 minutes of the second period, with Kwesi Appiah narrowly screwing a shot just wide from the edge of the box and O'Keefe beginning to boss the midfield.

But before Issott's side could take advantage Norwich were three ahead as a mix-up at the back let in Loza who finished calmly to seal the result for the Canaries. Three soon became four as the Palace defence stood off Jacob Murphy who curled home expertly from the edge of the box before his brother Josh drew a stunning diving save from Gregory.

Appiah nodded wide from Kaikai's clever cross but then a Norwich corner wasn't dealt with properly and Korey Smith lashed home a beauty from the edge of the box to make it five. In freezing conditions, the Eagles finally got some reward for their effort five minutes from time, as O'Keefe won a penalty that Appiah calmly converted.

Sekajja then saw an effort cleared off the line as the Eagles mounted a late charge but the game was Norwich's and only a wonderful one handed save from Gregory prevented a sixth in the dying moments.

Palace under 21s: Gregory; Ward (Akuruka 45), Taylor (Dymond 76), Inniss, Parsons; Boateng, Daniel (Sekajja 45), O'Keefe; Kaikai, Appiah, De Silva

Subs Not Used: King, Fenwick

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