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Match Reports

Development Report: Norwich 1-1 Palace

3 May 2013

Palace came from behind to earn a hard-fought point at Norwich in their penultimate game of the season. 

Jamie MacLaren had given the Canaries the lead in the early stages of the second half, but the visitors deservedly grabbed a share of the spoils thanks to Ibra Sekajja’s leveller. 

The result moved the Eagles’ points tally into double figures in the U21s Development Squad Group 3, with one game of the season to go. 

And the result will be seen as a sign of the development squad’s progression during the campaign, after they were humbled 5-1 by Norwich when the sides met at the start of last month. 

Despite being the underdogs, it was Palace who started the brighter and went close to taking the lead with just four minutes on the clock. 

Hiram Boateng was afforded too much space outside the box and let fly from 25 yards, only to see his shot fizz past the post. 

Trialist Dean Parrett, who impressed on his first outing against Bolton at Selhurst Park on Monday, was given the same luxury moments later, but his effort was saved comfortably by Jed Steer.

The visitors had their tails up and went close again after 16 minutes, when Matty Parsons’ cross from the left was met by Kwesi Appiah, whose header beat Steer but not the crossbar.

It took half an hour for the hosts to register their first meaningful attempt on goal, as Korey Smith picked out MacLaren at the back post, but he failed to find the target.

The duo combined again down the left to force Ross Fitzsimons into a decent save, before Olu Durojaiye tested the Palace stopper again with a well-struck shot from 25 yards. 

Fitzsimons had to be on his toes again in first half stoppage time, denying McLaren when he seemed certain to score. 

Norwich started the second half in the same attacking vein they finished the first, and it wasn’t long before their pressure finally told. 

Again it was the lively duo of Smith and MacLaren who combined to good effect, with the latter nodding home to give the Canaries the lead. 

MacLaren could have added a second just after the hour mark, but it was Palace who netted an equaliser at the other end, as Appiah’s cross picked out Sekajja who tapped home his fifth goal of the season. 

Having turned provider, front man Appiah then had a hat-trick of chances to put the Eagles in front, heading over from Parrett’s corner with the best of his three opportunities. 

Norwich finished the game the stronger side, but Smith and MacLaren both squandered half-chances in the final ten minutes, as the game petered out into a draw. 

Norwich City U21s: Steer, McNeil, Sheriff (c), Gafaiti, Wylie, MacLaren, Smith, Durojaiye, Clunan, Browne, Loza (Hodd 29).

Crystal Palace U21s: Fitzsimons, Akuruka, Wynter (c), Taylor, Parsons, Boateng, Parrett, Sekajja, Banton (Williams 46), Allassani, Appiah.

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