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      Report & Highlights: Eagles edged out of Youth Cup by Chelsea

      Crystal Palace U18
      Derry 85'
      Chelsea U18
      Morgan 64'
      George 68'

      Two goals in three minutes gave Chelsea an unassailable second-half lead in the FA Youth Cup fifth-round at Selhurst Park, despite a late Crystal Palace siege and Jesse Derry goal.


      • Palace U18s bidding to reach historic quarter-final
      • One change from team which beat Aston Villa: Browne out, Cowin starts
      • Marsh sees early effort saved before sustaining injury
      • Williams’ powerful effort denied by Merrick as Palace start quickly
      • Agbinone wins the ball high but cannot take advantage
      • George hits the side-netting in Chelsea’s first attack of note
      • Murray-Campbell heads over from close range as visitors finish half strongly
      • HT: Palace 0-0 Chelsea
      • Jemide makes goal-saving challenge on Morgan
      • Brilliant Eastwood save denies Chelsea’s Murray-Campbell soon after
      • Visitors continue siege, striking the woodwork twice in quick succession
      • Agbinone denied by Merrick as Palace threaten on the counter
      • Morgan’s clinical finish gives Chelsea the lead on 65 minutes
      • George makes it a quickfire double for Chelsea with long-range strike
      • Palace apply late pressure, Derry pulling one back
      • Morgan misses open goal following slip at the back
      • Redhead pulls wide with Palace’s final opportunity
      • FT: Palace 1-2 Chelsea
      FA Youth Cup Highlights: Crystal Palace 1-2 Chelsea

      The young Eagles were bidding to reach the Youth Cup quarter-finals for the first time since 2009/10 – when their side included Wilfried Zaha – but faced stiff opposition in nine-time winners Chelsea, who won five consecutive Youth Cups last decade.

      Backed by a sizeable crowd at Selhurst Park, who battled the elements to lend their support from SE25, Rob Quinn’s Palace team got off to an excellent start.

      With just eight minutes on the clock, a dart from midfield by George King – who had scored twice in the third-round to defeat Plymouth Argyle – culminated in a slide-rule pass for top scorer Zach Marsh to race onto. With Chelsea ‘keeper Max Merrick sliding in to block, Marsh poked the ball goalwards – but his effort was smothered.

      Sadly, it was to prove Marsh’s last contribution, the forward being replaced by Matteo Dashi moments later after appearing to clutch his hamstring.

      With their captain withdrawn, Palace turned to another huge attacking influence this season in Jesse Derry, whose whipped corner kick caused mayhem in the Chelsea box. Cleared as far as Seb Williams on the edge of the area, his powerful strike was parried by Merrick, who scrambled to block Asher Agbinone’s attempted follow-up.

      Palace’s early energy was paying dividends and it was Agbinone who, winning the ball high from a Chelsea defender, found himself running in on goal from the angle. With Dashi prime for a square ball, however, the Palace attacker hesitated on whether to go for goal himself; tackled, the ball broke to Williams, whose sweeping shot was saved by Merrick.

      It took as long as 20 minutes for Chelsea to register any attacking threat of note in the game, Tyrique George drifting in from the left flank before fizzing a low shot into the side-netting.

      The next spell of the game passed without much incident, but it was the visitors who finished the first-half with the greater flourish, a succession of corners testing Palace ‘keeper Billy Eastwood and his backline.

      It was with Chelsea’s fourth and final corner they enjoyed the pick of the first-half chances, Reiss-Alexander Denny’s in-swinging delivery finding Harrison Murray-Campbell unmarked in the six-yard area; the defender somehow conspired to head over the bar.

      Chelsea sustained that momentum in the early stages of the second 45. A piercing run from right winger Harrison McMahon had Palace’s defence stretched, and after Chelsea’s first pull-back ran all the way through, their second found forward Jimmy Morgan eight yards from goal; in dived Palace defender Mofe Jemide with a goal-saving tackle.

      The pressure continued to mount, a high, deep corner from Denny once again finding Murray-Campbell at the far post. Heading the ball down, Eastwood did superbly in the Palace goal to sprawl and get something in the way of its flight.

      Chelsea’s siege continued and, just moments after Somtochukwu Boniface – shown on the outside by Jake Grante – blazed a rising drive against the top of the crossbar, Morgan – again from a corner – headed against the post from point-blank range.

      Palace needed an out ball, and after a brief spell of calm, they found it on the hour mark: Williams dropped deep and played a slide-rule pass to Agbinone, who raced into the box and struck a firm left-footed shot across goal. Amidst the downpour, Merrick spilled, and as Derry followed up, a sliding tackle from Ishe Samuels-Smith cleared the danger.

      It was a key moment in the tie as, within seconds, Denny carried the ball over the halfway line for Chelsea and, with red and blue shirts backing off, had time to slip in Morgan, whose placed finish this time left Eastwood with little chance of stopping.

      Before Palace could recover, the hammer blow of Chelsea’s second. With space opening up after a quickly-taken free-kick, George jinked inside one defender before blasting a dipping shot into the corner from fully 30 yards.

      The goals were perhaps deserved in the context of Chelsea’s second-half dominance, but nevertheless cruel on a Palace team with little by way of luck on the night.

      Yet they continued to persevere, Cowin chesting down and volleying goalwards from outside the box, but clearing the bar with his strike, before Derry’s in-swinging corner appeared set to beat Merrick, only for the ‘keeper to palm clear.

      A goal was the least Palace deserved, and although it ended up being a consolation, Derry claimed the honours with five minutes remaining: an emphatic finish across goal following a give-and-go with Joseph Gibbard.

      Seconds later, a slip at the back presented Morgan with an open net, and the chance to seal it for Chelsea; he somehow skied his shot with the goalmouth gaping.

      Still the chances kept coming, and a lovely hooked pass from Derry gave Caleb Redhead the chance to run onto the ball – but from a tight angle and running across the ball’s path, the substitute dragged wide.

      Six added minutes came and went as, despite the best efforts of Gibbard and Agbinone to make inroads through the ranks of turquoise shirts, Chelsea held firm to end Palace’s Youth Cup dreams for another season.

      Palace: Eastwood (GK), Cardines, Grante, Jemide, Cowin, King, Gibbard, S. Williams, Agbinone, Marsh (Dashi, 12 (Redhead, 73)), Derry.

      Subs not used: Hill (GK), Adams-Collman, Elliott, Whyte, Lusale

      Chelsea: Merrick (GK), Acheampong, Murray-Campbell, Samuels-Smith (Akomeah, 67), McMahon, Dyer, Denny (Harrison, 82), Boniface, Golding (Richards, 77), George.

      Subs not used: Campbell (GK), Cardoso, Runham, Ngumoha