Crystal Palace Under-18s flexed their attacking muscles against West Ham United on Wednesday afternoon, with David Omilabu bagging a hat-trick in the Eagles' 5-1 victory.
- Paddy McCarthy makes one change from the recent Southampton clash: naming Jesurun Rak-Sakyi
- The Eagles take the lead after six minutes through a David Omilabu penalty
- Palace add a second as Jack Wells-Morrison strikes home from the centre of the box – Rak-Sakyi assisting both efforts
- The Hammers pull a goal back late in the first-half: Amadou Diallo converting from the spot
- Half-time: Crystal Palace 2-1 West Ham Under-18s
- The Eagles add a third and fourth as Omilabu completes his hat-trick
- Both sides enjoy chances throughout the second-half
- Dan Quick bags in the game’s dying minutes
- Full-time: Crystal Palace 5-1 West Ham Under-18s
Looking to leapfrog Fulham to regain their place at the top of the Under-18s Premier League south, Palace began in lightning fast fashion when Jesurun Rak-Sakyi worked his way into the box to earn a penalty.
Stepping up from 12 yards, David Omilabu’s finish was as impressive as his teammate’s work moments before as the frontman fired high into the net.
Palace’s bright start belied an uneven game, however, and the Hammers created chances of their own: Divin Mubama and Sonny Perkins heading narrowly wide before Gael Kileba hit low into Joe Whitworth’s gloves.
The close matching of the two teams continued throughout the first-half, with further goals to follow. Rak-Sakyi looked sharp and showcased his talent again in the 39th-minute as he fed Jack Wells-Morrison from the right byline. Wells-Morrison, not typically a prolific goalscorer, saw his chance to double Palace’s lead and took it well, knocking home from five yards out.
The Hammers responded as they did to the first goal: with intent. Minutes after Palace added their second, the visiting east Londoners found the net when Diallo earned a penalty, dusted himself off and struck in from 12 yards.
The 2-1 scoreline seemed fair, teeing up a second-half requiring all of the fight in the first.
The next 45 minutes began in the same fashion as the first, with Palace earning another penalty. This time ‘keeper Kristjan Hegyi brought down Omilabu one-on-one. Unperturbed by the psychological challenge of taking a second penalty, Omilabu again fired high – slotting the ball past Hegyi into the corner.
After this effort, Palace sought to guard their lead by attacking further and forced Hegyi into impressive action to deny Rak-Sakyi’s fierce shot on goal. But the shot stopper couldn’t do anything about the next offensive the hosts launched; Omilabu completing his hat-trick by turning home in a busy box from just six yards.
Chances continued to fall to either side – with Whitworth denying the Hammers at his near post and Rak-Sakyi being crowded out within the box after delaying his decision to pass or shoot.
In the final 10 minutes however Palace looked to manage the game and the young Eagles did so well – Dan Quick adding a fifth in the dying minutes from close range, securing Palace a 5-1 victory and their spot back at the top of the league.
Palace: Whitworth, Thistleton, Sheridan, Quick, Adaramola, Steele, Rodney, Wells-Morrison, Cadogan (Akinwale 67), Rak-Sakyi (Ola Adebomi 84), Omilabu.
Subs not used: Goodman, Ozoh, Gonzalez.
West Ham: Hegyi, Robinson, Evans, Heal (Clayton 77), Forbes, Laing (Bates 61), Diallo (Simon-Swyer 61), Woods, Mubama, Kileba, Perkins.
Subs not used: Shala, Earthy.