Over the weekend, Crystal Palace Under-11s made club history by reaching the final of the U11s National Tournament for the first time ever, where they narrowly lost on penalties to Manchester City.
The young Palace prospects participated in a two-day tournament in which they played 11 matches against fellow academies split into four groups of seven.
The winners and runners-up of each group qualified for the National Trophy, something Palace managed as champions of Group A. Led by Head Coach Phil Hingston, the Eagles overcame Arsenal, Ipswich Town, Derby County and Burnley and recorded a draw against Stoke City, losing only one game against Middlesbrough as they competed in their fourth consecutive match of the morning.
Having won their group on day one, the lads had made it through to the National Trophy, which begins with teams playing three other sides in their newly formed group.
In an all-London collection, Palace won against Fulham and Chelsea before drawing with West Ham United to top their group. As winners, they progressed through to the Trophy’s semi-final stage where they were drawn against West Bromwich Albion.
A tight clash saw both sides cancel one another out, with chances falling Palace’s way but not being taken. Forced to a penalty shoot-out with the game a 0-0 stalemate, the match was decided when the Eagles’ Harry Whitworth made a fine save to send his club to the final.
In the final itself, another draw ensued and saw Palace feature in their second penalty shoot-out of the afternoon, which they narrowly lost 3-2 against City.
At the close of the tournament, Head Coach Hingston said: “Although we were runners up, we felt a big sense of achievement to reach the final of such a high profile, elite tournament. Not only were we the only Category Two team to reach the National Trophy, but the boys competed well and dominated the majority of the games.
“The staff that travelled were fantastic throughout and the parents and spectators that made the journey were a huge support. Overall the trip was a massive success. The players did the club proud and were excellent ambassadors for Crystal Palace FC both on and off the pitch.”
Palace: Harry Whitworth, Oliver Stephens, Bobby Slatter, Lorenzo Shone, Orlando Savvaris, Mackenzie Richardson, Frankie Phillips, Chuks Okoli, Stuart Oduro, Jasper Judd, Benjamin Casey, Xavier Bedzitko, George Bishop, Maxwell Adedeji.
Goalscorers: Orlando Savvaris (4), Stuart Oduro (3), Chuks Okoli (3), Frankie Phillips (2), Benjamin Casey (2), Jasper Judd (1).