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Match Reports

U21 Report: Palace 6-0 Brentford

8 April 2014

An incredible display by Dwight Gayle saw him score five times as Palace romped to victory against Brentford in their final Development League encounter of the season and keep their play-off hopes in tact.

The crushing victory at the KNK Stadium means that Palace occupy second position in the table after racking up five successive wins, but will need both Queens Park Rangers and Bristol City to slip up in their final matches to reach the semi-final stage.

Looking to end the season strongly the Eagles manager had the luxury of naming a strike partnership of Glenn Murray and Gayle, and their quality told as they tormented a Brentford defence which was breached just six minutes in. Murray fed Gus Sow who dribbled around two defenders before being felled on the edge of the box, and Gayle slammed the free-kick past Mark Smith in emphatic style.

Seven minutes later Gayle was celebrating again when Hiram Boateng won a loose ball in midfield and played it into the attacker's path. Despite having two defenders around him, he showed great composure to bide his time and find the yard of space he needed to drill the ball into the bottom corner.

The contest was over just 20 minutes in as the Eagles notched their third by punishing some slack defending from a set-piece. Kyle De Silva clipped a corner towards the back post and the unmarked Paddy McCarthy had the simple task of the heading the ball home to make it 3-0.

The Bees were on the ropes and Gayle completed his hat-trick five minutes before the break with the proverbial route-one goal. Lewis Price's long goal-kick was flicked on by Murray, and the marksman raced onto the ball and coolly chipped Smith before watching it nestle in the net to register his third.

Despite only playing the first 10 minutes of the second half, Gayle managed to take his afternoon's tally to an incredible five by scoring twice in a minute. Firstly he tapped in from a couple of yards out after Murray cut the ball across the face of goal, and then almost straight from the restart Gayle robbed a defender before bounding goalwards and saw a deflected shot creep into he bottom corner.

That prompted Issott to take off his dynamic strike partnership for Morgan Ferrier and Reise Allassani but they continued where their predecessors had left off, as the trialist smacked the bar with a header from the winger's cross as Palace attempted to heap more misery on their opponents.

There were chances to grab a seventh as Gray forced Smith into a flying save with a free-kick and Allassani and Luke Croll saw headers flash over, but now the in-form Eagles will have to wait for other results to see if they have done enough to clinch a play-off place.

Palace: Price, Gordon, Jerome Williams, G. Sow, McCarthy (Croll 65), Chambers, Gray, Boateng, Murray (Allassani 57), Gayle (Ferrier 57), De Silva. Subs not used: Gregory, Kaikai. 

Brentford: Smith, Stone, Bryan, Maloney, Calvet, Milenge, Clarke, Adams, Moore (Rowe 78), Udumaga (Onovwingun 78), Fillo. Subs not used: Minter, Pilbeum.

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