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      U21s Report: Eagles undone by Bristol Rovers in Papa Johns Trophy

      Bristol Rovers
      Kilgour 45+2'
      Clarke 73'
      Crystal Palace U21

      On a cold Tuesday night at The Memorial Stadium, Crystal Palace Under-21s fell to their first defeat of the season against League One Bristol Rovers.


      • Paddy McCarthy made four changes to the side which beat West Ham

      • Play was broken up intermittently throughout the half due to injuries to both sets of players

      • The Gas took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Alfie Kilgour

      • John-Kymani Gordon saw his effort parried away just before the break

      • Half-time: Bristol Rovers 1-0 Crystal Palace

      • Gordon came close early on in the second-half

      • Trevor Clarke doubled the lead for Bristol Rovers 73 minutes in

      • Seán Grehan and Jadan Raymond saw efforts to pull one back denied

      • The hosts were down to 10 men as Glenn Whelan was sent off in the 82nd minute

      • Kofi Balmer nearly forced an own goal in time added on

      • Full-time: Bristol Rovers 2-0 Crystal Palace

      U21 Match Highlights: Bristol Rovers 2-0 Palace

      Three days on from their 0-1 victory away at West Ham United, Palace Under-21s travelled to face League One Bristol Rovers

      Manager Paddy McCarthy made four changes to the side which kept the Hammers at bay, with Joe Whitworth, Noah Watson, Maliq Cadogan and John-Kymani Gordon all returning in place of Owen Goodman, Tayo Adaramola, Jack Wells-Morrison and Fionn Mooney.

      The two sides were evenly matched in the opening quarter of the game. Palace’s best chance came through a Killian Phillips volley that was skewed over Anssi Jaakkola’s net.

      Play was broken up intermittently throughout the half due to players on both sides picking up minor injuries.

      Bristol Rovers came close to opening the scoring just before the half hour mark from a corner, however Whitworth did well to keep the scores level by keeping out Sylvester Jasper’s snap shot inside the six yard box with a reaction save.

      It looked as though both sides were going into the break level, but the hosts managed to take the lead just before the interval. A corner from skipper Paul Coutts was met by Alfie Kilgour in the box to give Bristol Rovers the lead.

      The Eagles looked to hit back immediately with what little time remained in the half - David Ozoh slipped Gordon through and the forward’s shot on goal was parried away by Jaakkola just before the referee brought an end to proceedings in the first-half.

      With Palace behind at the break, they came out in the second-half with a point to prove. Cadogan slipped Gordon in behind early on, but the in-form striker saw his shot blocked and a follow up pass across the box cleared away.

      Much like the first-half, chances were few and far between in the second-half for both the hosts and the Eagles.

      With just over 15 minutes remaining, Bristol Rovers managed to double their lead. Trevor Clarke’s fierce effort from 20-yards out nestled into the bottom left corner of the net and all but sealed the points for the hosts.

      Seán Grehan came close to pulling one back for Palace in the final 10 minutes of the game. He rose highest to head a Fionn Mooney corner goalbound, however his header was saved and a follow up effort from Jadan Raymond was blocked by the Rovers’ defence.

      The hosts were reduced to 10 men after veteran midfielder Glenn Whelan was shown a straight red for dissent in the 84th minute.

      This gave Palace a glimmer of hope to salvage something from the game, but it was to no avail. Kofi Balmer nearly forced an own goal after heading a Mooney corner back across goal, though the deflection off Clarke went onto the crossbar and safely into the hands of Jaakkola.

      The referee brought an end to proceedings after four minutes of time added on. The result means that Paddy McCarthy’s side now have it all to play for in two weeks against group leaders Plymouth Argyle. Palace currently sit third in their group, a point behind Bristol Rovers and two behind Argyle.

      Bristol Rovers: Jaakkola, Kilgour (Thomas, 45), Westbrooke, Marquis (Coburn, 45), Jasper, Coutts, Clarke, Saunders (Loft, 71), McCormick (Gibbons, 63), Whelan, Hoole (Gibson, 63).

      Subs not used: Belshaw, Finley.

      Crystal Palace: Whitworth, Rodney, Balmer, Grehan, Watson (Raymond, 73), Ozoh, Phillips, Cadogan (Mooney, 73), Omilabu, Ola-Adebomi (Akinwale, 57), Gordon.

      Subs not used: Izquierdo, Imray, Bell.