It was late heartbreak for the under-15s in the Premier League Floodlit Cup Southern Final against Chelsea at Selhurst Park.
The first chance fell to the visitors, but a smart Whitworth save with his feet denied them an early advantage on three minutes.
Palace’s first chance fell to Cardo Siddik, but his first time effort from a lovely Fionn Mooney free-kick delivery was just over the crossbar. Mooney’s set pieces looked likely to be the Eagles’ best chance of a goal in the early exchanges, with them causing the Blues problems at the back.
Whitworth did brilliantly again on 22 minutes, stretching a leg to turn a powerful low effort over his crossbar, but Chelsea would take the lead from the resulting corner, scoring a header from inside the six-yard box.
It was a Mooney set piece that nearly provided Palace with a freak equaliser, as the playmaker’s corner looped over everybody and bounced off the top of the crossbar at the Whitehorse Lane End.
Chelsea doubled their advantage minutes later, when a neat passing move ended with an unstoppable shot from the edge of the Palace area, which nestled in the side-netting.
After the restart the visitors nearly had a third, when a lightning quick counter-attack ended with them hitting the far post before Palace clearer their lines.
Palace halved the deficit on 54 minutes through David Omilabu, who smartly finished off a superb team move which cut through the Chelsea backline.
In the final few minutes Omilabu was brought down in the area and Palace were awarded a penalty. The forward took it himself, ramming it into the top corner at the Holmesdale Road End and causing chaos in the stands at Selhurst Park.
The joy was short-lived sadly, as the visitors quickly regained the lead when the ball was thumped in following a scramble in the Palace area.
Whitworth; Bartley, Wright, Smith, Quick, Siddik, Thiselton (Bello, 59), Gonzalez, Kymani-Gordon, Mooney, Omilabu.
Goodman, Villazon, Watson, Akinwale, Grant, Danso.