Despite the second-half sending off of Dylan Thiselton, Palace's U18s put in a dominant performance against Charlton Athletic to secure an impressive 1-1 draw against the unbeaten Addicks.
Both sides started the match at a decent tempo with the first real chance coming for the home side as Fionn Mooney played the ball to Denzelle Olopade on the edge of the box but the powerful No.4 fired just over the bar.
Charlton’s first threat on Palace’s goal came in the 10th minute when Kasim Attoo whipped a free-kick in but Cardo Siddik cleared the ball brilliantly with a header.
The Eagles started to keep possession of the ball inside the away side’s half more frequently and in the 18th minute the home side broke brilliantly with Josh Ajayi. The Palace man beat a couple of defenders before he whipped in a dangerous cross into an unfortunately empty box. However, TQ Addy did well to keep the ball in on the left wing and delivered a wonderful lofted cross back to Ajayi but Charlton’s Charlie Parker did well to prevent him from getting a head on it.
The chances kept coming for the Eagles as they took a stronghold on the game. Mooney broke excellently through the middle with pace and slotted through Ajayi who looked poised to give the home side a deserved lead but Billy French got back well with a slide tackle to block the goal-bound shot.
Charlton struggled to really threaten Whitworth in the Palace goal with a couple of corners coming to nothing due to solid defending from the home side. The pressure continued from the south Londoners and in the 40th minute, Jashaun Chamberlin stepped out of the backline and played Mooney through who crossed the ball low across the six-yard box but Ajayi couldn’t quite steer it home.
On the 45th minute the Eagles finally made the pressure pay and went 1-0 up. Olopade won the ball back in an advantageous position and he played Dylan Thiselton through on the right wing, who turned back to Ellison Wright at right-back, he then delivered a brilliant first time cross which Mooney headed at the near post and looped over Nathan Harvey in the Charlton goal.
The second-half started as the first had finished with Palace dominating and looking the more likely to score again. Eventually, Charlton’s first clear chance of the second '45 came 10 minutes in to the second-half as Henry switched the play to Attoo at left-back who shot hard and low but Whitworth parried it well out for a corner.
Palace couldn't find the important sucker punch that would've been a second goal and Charlton capitalised. Harvey took a goal-kick which landed in the Palace box and Lion Bello pulled down Jeremy Santos for a penalty after the Charlton forward’s first touch took him away from the defender. Luca Albon stepped up and finished the penalty well, hitting it hard and low to the 'keeper’s bottom right.
Despite Charlton equalising from 12-yards, it was again Paddy McCarthy’s side who looked likely to regain the lead with Olopade almost scoring from a low shot which Harvey did well to stop.
With 15 minutes to go though, Palace were down a man. Thiselton received a second yellow card after pulling Santos back to prevent a counter attack.
Charlton’s opportunities to make the one-man advantage count were few and far between, with their best chance to get a winning goal coming after Henry passed incisively to Albon on the edge of the box who turned Siddik but Whitworth got down superbly to his bottom right to keep the score at 1-1.
Palace defended resolutely with 10-men and still looked dangerous on the counter attack with the pace of Omilabu and Addy but the referee brought an end to the game and the points were shared.
Crystal Palace: Whitworth, Wright (Omilabu, 65), Bello, Olopade, Chamberlin, Siddik, Thiselton, Wells-Morrison, Ajayi (Woodman, 75) Mooney (Gonzalez, 75) Addy.
Unused subs: Russell, Rak-Sakyi
Charlton: Harvey, Barton, Attoo, Henry, Parker, French, Albon, Agyemang, Santos, Campbell, Aframe- Kesey (Thompson, 75)
Unused subs: Fuhari, Watkins, Garande, Latato.