Crystal Palace Under-23s could not find their clinical edge as they slipped to a 2-0 defeat against Fulham’s Under-23 side at Bisham Abbey on Tuesday evening. The Eagles have now faced two Category 1 opponents this pre-season as they prepare for the step-up in the 2020/21 campaign.
- Jean-Pierre Tiehi puts Fulham in front with an early opener
- A Palace trialist directs effort wide from close range
- Jay Stansfield hits the crossbar for Fulham on the brink of half-time
- Half-time: Fulham 1-0 Palace
- Fulham’s Ollie O’Neill makes it 2-0 through a long-range strike
- A trialist thunders a shot just wide after a well-worked Palace move
- Full-time: Fulham 2-0 Palace
Fulham started the game brightly and raced into an early lead courtesy of Tiehi. The frontman lost his marker before sweeping home a first-time strike from close range following a neat cut-back near the byline.
Palace responded to this early setback by looking to instigate a flurry of attacks. Their most notable chance of the opening exchanges came when a trialist squared the ball towards Rob Street in the middle, but the forward mistimed his strike from inside the box.
Shaun Derry’s side created another big opportunity in the 23rd minute when the same duo combined again, with Street turning provider on this occasion as his drilled cross was touched just wide of the post by the same trialist.
The remainder of the first-half was largely played out in midfield with there being a lack of clear-cut chances, but the game still had a high intensity with both sides committing a number of crunching challenges in an attempt to tug momentum their way.
Palace had a momentary sight of goal before the interval when a trialist cut inside from the right before seeing his promising drive blocked, while Fulham hit the woodwork on the very brink of half-time when Stansfield edged inside from the right before grazing his strike against the bar.
Fulham kicked the second period off in a similar vein to the first as they created a double salvo of chances straight after the break. Tiehi firstly saw his quick-fire shot blocked on the turn before Jay Rich-Baghuelou showed his athleticism to cut out a Fulham breakaway moments later.
However, the Cottagers did assert their authority when O’Neill doubled their lead in the 49th minute. Palace could not close down the midfielder when he collected the ball, and he then powered a 25-yard strike into the roof of the net to give Fulham the two-goal cushion they had been chasing.
The hosts were soon inches away from adding a third when Timmy Abraham’s close-range effort was held by Ollie Webber, but Palace launched an encouraging attack of their own shortly later. In a move which involved three trialists, the ball was sprayed towards Palace’s left-winger who slid an inviting delivery into the box, but the arriving trialist smashed his low strike wide of the near post.
This typified Palace’s luck on the day as they often produced some promising build-up play before lacking killer instinct in the final third. This was similarly the case when a trialist found himself in a pocket of space on the left side of the box, but he flashed his strike wide of the far post.
Fulham went inches away from making it 3-0 late on when Stanfield met O’Neill’s cut-back and whipped his close-range strike wide, but Palace did look to stage one final attack as they won a corner right at the death. However, this came to nothing as neither Street nor Cardo Siddik could get on the end of a looping delivery.
The referee then called time on another challenging match for Derry’s men where they will be left rueing several missed chances against high calibre opposition in another beneficial test.
Palace: Webber, Boateng, Rich-Baghuelou (Hobbs 81), Russell, Trialist (Siddik 81), Trialist, Giddings, Trialist (Addy 60), Trialist (Trialist 60), Street.