Crystal Palace’s Under-18 side were unfortunate to suffer successive league defeats after losing to Ipswich Town, despite a determined, second-half fightback.
It was a bright start for the Eagles who looked quick and strong in the early exchanges. Striker John-Kymani Gordon was making his full debut with the squad and showed why with his aerial presence and hold-up play, allowing the trio of Malachi Boateng, Joshua Malcolm and trialist Tristian Goodridge to create several openings.
Malcolm saw a shot narrowly head over the bar after some neat play from Palace down the left flank within the first 10 minutes, whilst Rohan Luthra had to stay alert at the other end, scrambling the ball off the line after a header from an Ipswich corner.
Palace’s clearest first-half chance came at 15 minutes when Goodridge was played through by Gordon, but Toby Egan produced a good stop to keep the scores level.
It was the hosts who found the breakthrough just a minute later as Ipswich centre half Luca Vega headed home from a corner to give Ipswich the lead.
Palace almost equalised straight-away however, with Gordon slipping Malcolm in down the left of the penalty box, who checked back and crossed to Boateng. Frustratingly, Egan was again equal to the resulting attempt.
The opposition's lead was doubled after 26 minutes by Lounes Foudil, latching on to Tommy Smith’s long ball before lobbing brilliantly from the edge of the box.
Ipswich were in control at this point and proved their credentials as the league’s top scorers, having netted 25 times from 10 games before the morning's match. Quick passing down the right wing ended at the feet of Armondo Dobra who fired an unstoppable drive into the far corner for a 3-0 lead at half-time.
Paddy McCarthy introduced Cian Trehy during the break as he switched to fielding a back-three system and this seemed to allow more control of the game for Palace. Trehy was composed and commanding alongside captain Martin Onoabhagbe, seeking to mount a fightback.
Palace continued to chase and attack Ipswich, and Goodridge was denied by a smart save from a counter attack on 60 minutes. The Eagles managed to pull a goal back as substitute Brandon Aveiro shot after a mazy run which was blocked before the ball fell to Malcolm who tucked it away well.
The Eagles had the ascendency and could have easily put Town under intense pressure had another goal come. Onoabhagbe got on the end of a free-kick in the last ten minutes, knocking it down for Trehy who was unlucky to head straight at Egan from close-range.
Aveiro had a similar chance but headed over the bar in the final few minutes as Palace’s hard-work went un-rewarded.
Palace: Luthra, Russell, Quick (Trehy 45), Onoabhagbe, Chamberlin-Gayle, Hanson (Aveiro 65), Gurung, Boateng, Goodridge, Malcolm, Gordon (Omilabu 71). Subs not used: Matthews, Parris.