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      Report & Highlights: Honours even as Palace and Everton play out stalemate

      Crystal Palace U21
      Everton U21

      Crystal Palace Under-21s played out a 0-0 draw with Everton on a rainy Monday evening at the VBS Community Stadium.


      • Three changes to the side, with Grehan, Umeh and Vonnte Williams returning

      • Whitworth is called into action early on to stop Hunt’s free-kick on the edge of the box

      • Grehan nearly scores from a cross and then narrowly heads over

      • Everton almost score an own goal from a back pass 34 minutes in

      • Farquhar heads just wide before half-time

      • HT: Palace 0-0 Everton

      • Whitworth stops another Everton free-kick early on in the second-half

      • He’s called into action once more to deny Jankpata 65 minutes in

      • Palace have multiple breakaways, but can't quite capitalise on them

      • Nascimento has it in the back of the net from a corner, but it’s ruled out for offside

      • Imray hit the post right at the death from the narrowest of angles

      • FT: Palace 0-0 Everton

      U21 Match Highlights: Crystal Palace 0-0 Everton

      Just four days on from being knocked out of the Premier League Cup quarter-final at the hands of Fulham, Crystal Palace Under-21s were back in league action as they welcomed Everton to the VBS Community Stadium.

      In a precursor to their clash in the Premier League International Cup semi-final next Tuesday, Darren Powell made three changes to the side. Seán Grehan, Vonnte Williams and Franco Umeh all came in for Nathan Ferguson, Noah Watson and Adler Nascimento.

      With the backing of the strong crowd present at Sutton, Palace aimed to get off to a strong start. Neither team really found their footing in the opening exchanges, with Everton only threatening from a free-kick on the edge of the box.

      Mackenzie Hunt stepped up from what was effectively 19 yards out and stung the palms of a diving Joe Whitworth in the Palace goal.

      The heavens opened shortly into the first-half and as a result the game opened up too, with chances flowing at both ends. Danny Imray’s break down the right hand side saw an effort blocked, while Everton’s Lewis Warrington fired a goalbound effort from distance that was blocked behind.

      The Eagles were forced into an early change, with Victor Akinwale going off injured. Nascimento came on in his place and nearly had an instant impact. He combined well with Imray inside the box and struck an effort that was blocked by Hunt.

      Following up that effort was Grehan, as he hung a cross into the air that had to be tipped behind by Billy Crellin in the Everton goal. The resulting corner saw the Palace centre-back head narrowly over the bar.

      Everton almost gifted Palace the lead in calamitous fashion, as Roman Dixon played it back to Crellin. The ‘keeper let it slip under his feet and it almost crept over the line if it weren’t for his last-gasp clearance.

      Centre-back Craig Farquhar headed just over as well shortly before the half-time interval. A well-worked free-kick routine saw Justin Devenny float it into the far-post where Umeh headed it back across for Farquhar, who in turn just guided his header the wrong side of the post.

      The rain subsided after the break and the sides were once again at one another in search of a breakthrough. Everton had a dangerous free-kick once again, albeit from slightly further out, but Whitworth was on hand to get fingertips to it low down to his right to turn it behind.

      Second-half substitute Halid Djankpata tested Whitworth again, while Palace threatened on multiple occasions on the breakaway to no avail. With just over 10 minutes remaining, Mofe Jemide played a long diagonal out to Imray who beat his man and cut it across for Umeh who unfortunately couldn’t find a decisive touch to guide it goalwards.

      Palace had the ball in the back of the net following the second phase of a corner routine, but it was ruled out for offside as Nascimento was just ahead of the last defender.

      In the dying embers of the game, Imray came agonisingly close to claiming all three points with a fiercely struck effort from a narrow angle that bounced back out off the post.

      Palace U21s’ first 0-0 draw in over a year means they remain in 13th place, level on points with Manchester United and one ahead of three other teams. They need to remain above 16th place in their final three games of the league campaign to progress to the next stage.

      Palace: Whitworth (GK), Imray, Farquhar, Grehan, Jemide, V. Williams (Watson, 66), Devenny, Rodney, Mathurin (Gibbard, 86), Akinwale (Nascimento, 18), Umeh.

      Subs not used: Izquierdo (GK), Francis.

      Everton: Crellin (GK), Dixon, Hunt, Welch, Onyango, Warrington, John (Barker, 76), Butterfield (Djankpata, HT), Kouyate, Metcalfe, Whitaker (Armstrong, 82).

      Subs not used: Barnsley (GK), Jones.