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Match Reports

U23s Report: Birmingham City 5-0 Crystal Palace

23 September 2016

Palace slipped to only their second defeat of the season as table-toppers Birmingham City ran out clear victors in the Midlands.

Playing their second game in four days, Richard Shaw handed first-teamers Julian Speroni, Mathieu Flamini, Jonathan Benteke and Fraizer Campbell opportunities to gain fitness, however their experience couldn’t help the Eagles maintain their good start to the campaign.

Speroni was called into his first stop after three minutes when he thwarted Beryly Lubala from close-range, but Palace were soon on the attack themselves when Luke Dreher fed Randell Williams, but the winger couldn’t score for the second time this week as Jake Weaver blocked his effort.

But just after the half-hour mark the Blues got in front. Paul Caddis got forward on the right and the full-back laid the ball off to Ronan Hale who struck a sweet left-footed attempt into the bottom corner of the net to hand his side the lead, which they then extended just five minutes later when Jalen Jones unintentionally screwed a clearance into his own net on 38 minutes.

The visitors came so close to pulling one back when Jacob Berkeley-Agyepong had a blast and the slightest of fingertips from Weaver tipped the ball onto the post, and it trickled along the goalline before being cleared.

And that save proved vital as on 62 minutes Birmingham clinched the victory by adding a third goal when Corey O’Keeffe headed in a Charlie Cooper corner, and four minutes later they struck the crossbar when the same two players combined but this time Cooper couldn’t keep his attempt on target.

However the fourth did come on 77 minutes when Sam Woods brought down Wes McDonald inside the area and Caddis sent Speroni the wrong way from 12 yards, and things got even worse with six minutes to go when McDonald got on the scoresheet when he saw a deflected shot find the net to rub salt into the wound.

Birmingham: Weaver, Caddis, Baba, Martin (Seddon 75), Cogley, O’Keeffe, Maxwell, Cooper, Solomon-Otabor, Hale (Popa 45), Lubala (McDonald 66). Subs: Beardmore.

Palace: Speroni, Akiotu, Woods, Jones, King-Elliott, Flamini (Coker 62), Dreher, R Williams, Berkeley-Agyepong, J Benteke (Bissaka 55), Campbell (Andrews 62). Subs: McAdden, Hossanah.

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