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Match Reports

U18s Report & Gallery: Crystal Palace 2-2 Sheff Utd

7 April 2018

A last minute equaliser denied Palace’s Under 18 side victory and denied them at least temporarily from becoming champions of the league’s Southern section as an ill-tempered game spilled over at full-time.

Joseph Hungbo’s sensational curling effort into the top corner from 25 yards with just two minutes of stoppage time remaining looked to have sealed the title for the young Eagles, but Sheffield United came back in the dying seconds with an equaliser.

They have booked their place in the play-offs, with second-placed Charlton only able to deny them top spot if they win their remaining two games, Palace lose both of theirs, and they overturn an 18 goal deficit.

The game was one of the Premier League's Equality Inspires and Kick It Out awareness fixtures, with players wearing t-shirts with the Kick it Out logo in the warm-up. 

It took just 11 minutes for the young Eagles to take the lead, with Francis Jno Baptiste heading in a Joseph Hungbo cross at the back post. 

They dominated the opening stages, with Hungbo and Sean Robertson having joy down the right wing, and should have doubled their lead after 22 minutes when Tyrick Mitchell headed over before Kyle Lynch poked a shot wide from close range six minutes later.

Ollie Webber was later forced into a smart save as United broke out of their shackles.

With just three minutes until half-time, Kyle Lynch was involved in an altercation with a Blades player, which saw the referee produce yellow cards for both, following a 22-player fracas.

Webber was again called into action mid-way through the second half when he saved well at close range from a powerful shot, but the Irishman suffered a wrist injury and was replaced by Rohan Luthra.

The Under 16 goalkeeper made two important saves to keep his side ahead before they conceded a penalty with just five minutes remaining, which was duly converted.

But Hungbo’s stunning goal, which was worthy of winning the league for the Eagles, seemed to have won the game, only for a second equaliser deep into second-half stoppage time. Palace’s players were furious and again after the final whistle the two sets of players clashed, before Courtney Watson was given a straight red card by the referee for dissent.

Nonetheless, only goal difference can prevent Paddy McCarthy’s side from securing top spot. Avoid defeat away at Nottingham Forest next week and they will win the league and play-off against the second-placed team from the Northern section for a chance to win the overall title.

Palace: Webber (Luthra 69); Ossai, Russell, Lynch, Mitchell; Bryon, Boateng, Donkin (Watson 61); Robertson, Jno Baptiste, Hungbo

Goals: Jno Baptiste 11, Hungbo 88

Red card: Watson 90.

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