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Report: U18s fall to Norwich defeat in eight goal thriller

20 February 2021

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Crystal Palace Under-18s suffered a setback in their quest for the Premier League U18 South title as they were beaten 5-3 by Norwich in an action-packed encounter at Copers Cope Road on Saturday afternoon.

Summary:

  • Palace race into an early lead through Jack Wells-Morrison’s emphatic header (1).
  • Rowe equalises with a solo effort (27) before Kamara’s penalty makes it 2-1 to Norwich (31).
  • Palace are awarded a penalty of their own, but Aiden Steele’s spot-kick is saved.
  • Jesurun Rak Sakyi levels the scores with his angled strike in stoppage time (45+5), but Ken Aboh restores Norwich’s lead seconds later (45+6).
  • HT: Palace 2-3 Norwich
  • Palace’s Dan Quick powers home a header to make it 3-3 (49’).
  • Sean Stewart puts Norwich in front with his curling free-kick (73’).
  • Jon Rowe scores from a tight angle to make it 5-3 to the visitors late on (81’).
  • FT: Palace 3-5 Norwich

Paddy McCarthy’s side adopted a high intensity from the first whistle, and this ferocious start saw them race into a 1-0 lead after just 39 seconds. Dylan Thistleton collected the ball on the right flank before looping a superb delivery towards Wells-Morrison, who arrived on the scene to direct a powerful header beyond Sam Blair.

The hosts continued to look comfortable in possession following this excellent start, but the Canaries were dangerous on the break, and levelled the scores in the 27th minute. Rowe darted inside from the right-wing before drilling his strike just inside the near post.

Norwich gained momentum following this equaliser and they caught out Palace again just seconds later, as Tayo Adaramola’s nudge on Abu Kamara prompted the referee to point to the spot.

Kamara was on penalty duty for the Canaries and he sent Joe Whitworth the wrong way, slotting the ball into the bottom right-hand corner to make it 2-1.

Despite falling behind, Palace continued to pose a threat to the Norwich backline and Victor Akinwale earned an opportunity to pull them back level when he went to ground in the box and won a penalty.

Aiden Steele stepped up to the spot but was denied by Blair, who correctly guessed the midfielder would aim his strike at the bottom right-hand corner.

It had looked as though Norwich would take their 2-1 lead into the interval, but a lively stoppage-time period then saw both sides find the net before the break.

Palace made it 2-2 when Jesurun Rak Sakyi carved a pocket of space on the edge of the box before guiding his rising strike into the top left-hand corner in the fifth minute of added time.

However, the hosts were on level terms for less than a minute as Aboh pounced on a through ball before tucking his shot into the far corner of the net to make it 3-2 right on the stroke of half-time.

Much like the opening period, Palace started the second half in the ascendancy and this saw them make it 3-3 in the 49th minute. Fionn Mooney whipped an enticing corner into the middle, and Quick rose highest to direct his fine stooping header into the bottom left-hand corner.

Palace created a series of openings to retake the lead with Mooney among those to go close. Soon after, an inventive team move culminated in Quick teeing up Akinwale just outside the six-yard box, but the forward scooped his first-time effort over the bar.

Instead, it was Norwich who gained the upper hand after they were awarded a free-kick in a dangerous area on the edge of the box. Sean Stewart stepped up to take the set-piece, and he curled an impressive strike into the top right-hand corner to make it 4-3 after 73 minutes.

The visitors managed to establish a two-goal cushion when Rowe fired home from a tight angle to add his second of the day in the 81st minute.

This final strike dealt a heavy blow to Palace’s chances of a late comeback, as a flurry of late substitutions could not help prevent them from slipping to their first defeat since December.

Palace: Whitworth, Thisleton, Adaramola, Steele (Ola Adebomi 79), Quick, Sheridan, Gonzalez (Cadogan 85), Wells-Morrison, Akinwale, Mooney (Ozoh 85), Rak Sakyi.

Subs not used: Goodman, Bartley.

Norwich: Blair, Alidor-Hamilton, Stewart, Hills, Shipley, Foyo, Rowe, Brooke, Aboh (Okeowo 79), Kamara (Thornton 54), Duffy (Matos 55).

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