Crystal Palace Under-23s again held their own against experienced opposition over the weekend, ending a physical battle with Dulwich Hamlet 0-0 at Champion Hill.
- Palace take on National League South outfit Dulwich Hamlet in a pre-season friendly
- Dulwich, who reached the FA Cup first-round last season, give Palace a physical battle but the Eagles hold firm to keep a clean sheet
- Jay Rich-Baghuelou lines up for Palace against his former side, planting his header just wide of the mark before half-time
- Half-time: Dulwich Hamlet 0-0 Palace U23s
- Rob Street almost breaks the deadlock when his well-executed free-kick forces Pardington to tip the ball around the post
- Palace secure a well earned draw against experienced opponents thanks to fantastic shot-stopping from the Eagles' Jacob Russell
- Full-time: Dulwich Hamlet 0-0 Palace U23s
Palace began the game assertively, enjoying some neat touches in midfield. The visitor's Kian Flanagan looked lively, driving up and down the left flank to get on the end of diagonal passes from defender Lewis Hobbs. Dulwich held their own though and within minutes, created their own well-crafted attack with a floating ball into the Palace box that was headed onto the roof of the net by Jalloh.
Dulwich were hungry for more and could have pushed themselves ahead when Barnes found himself in front of goal, however Hobbs did well to break up play and nullify the opening. Palace were pressing high following this move, and it almost paid off when Dulwich’s defence were forced into a sloppy back pass. Unfortunately for Palace, the following corner amounted to nothing.
There were physical duels across the pitch as both sides battled their way through the first-half to score. This battle could have been won when recent signing Jake Giddings set Flanagan free on the counter attack but, after speeding past Ming and drilling a well-timed cross into the box, Flanagan saw his ball mopped up neatly by Dulwich's Embalo.
At the end of a scrappy half an hour, Palace committed two fouls in three minutes, as tensions boiled up between both sets of players. The game slowed down just before half-time, and a trialist did well to dictate play for Palace, bringing the ball out from the back and feeding the midfield with high-quality passes.
Dulwich defender Aaron Barnes earned a free-kick when he was brought down after showing great pace, but his teammate Michael Timlin could only smash a curling effort into Palace’s resolute wall to close the first-half.
The second-half began in lively fashion, with both sides looking to break the deadlock after a close-knit first 45. Pressing from Palace’s front players set the Eagles’ intensity while showing urgency to win the ball. This served Palace well when Street earned a foul on the edge of Dulwich’s box. The Palace striker executed a well-placed free-kick but home goalkeeper Pardington was on hand to tip the ball past his right-hand post.
Lapses of concentration at the back cost Palace occasionally. With much of the second-half gone, Dulwich’s Pinto almost made Palace pay from 25-yards when he drove a stinging free-kick at goal only to be denied adeptly by Russell. The Palace 'keeper claimed well, calmly catching and bringing the ball into his chest to set the Eagles off on their pursuit of a first goal.
Instead of scoring though, Palace found themselves defending against a physical host, who came close to breaking the deadlock before full-time when Sonuppe fizzed a teasing cross from the left flank into the penalty area. Coker, however, failed to connect with the cross as the ball drifted across the box before Palace cleared their lines.
After a tough, physical battle, Palace end their penultimate pre-season friendly on a positive note, shutting out Dulwich Hamlet in a deserving 0-0 draw.
Dulwich: Pardington, Ming, Musampa, Timlin, Debrah, Embalo, Barnes, Hyde (Kuagica, 65), Mills, Barbosa, Jalloh.
Palace: Jacob Russell, Boateng, Trialist, Trialist, Rich-Baghuelou, Hobbs, Banks, Giddings, Street, Trialist, Flanagan.
Palace U23s next take on Brentford B team in their final pre-season game. You will be able to watch this live for £3 by purchasing from 10am on Tuesday (8th September), or you can grab a Gold, Junior Gold or International Membership here before 23:59 on Monday (7th September) to watch the game at no extra cost as part of your package.
Image credit: Ollie Jarman