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      Report & Highlights: Palace’s PL Cup group wide open after defeat to Boro

      Crystal Palace U21
      Middlesbrough U21
      Kavanagh 20' 25' 41' 54'

      Crystal Palace Under-21s fell to a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough, with Calum Kavanagh netting all four goals.


      • Darren Powell made six changes to the side which beat Benfica

      • Palace and Boro both have half-chances early on

      • Boro take the lead from the spot through Kavanagh in the 20th minute

      • Kavanagh adds a second five minutes later

      • He completes his hat-trick just before the half-time interval

      • HT: Palace 0-3 Boro

      • Kavanagh gets his fourth 10 minutes into the second-half

      • Boro dominate the ball and stifle any attempts Palace have of claiming a consolation

      • Reid fires narrowly over the bar with 10 minutes to go

      • Reid is shown a second yellow in stoppage time

      • Gitau is shown two yellows within a minute for Boro in the sixth minute of stoppage time

      • FT: Palace 0-4 Boro

      Five days on from the 2-1 win against Benfica in the Premier League International Cup, Crystal Palace Under-21s were back in action as they hosted Middlesbrough in the Premier League Cup.

      Head coach Darren Powell shuffled the pack, making six changes to the side, handing Victor Akinwale his first start in over a month.

      Both sides had chances early on in the game, though neither could capitalise. Justin Devenny, Jadan Raymond and Akinwale all came close for Palace, while Bryant Bilongo and Fenton John were close for Boro.

      Twenty minutes in, the visitors managed to take the lead from 12-yards as Joe Sheridan was unfortunately adjudged to have handled it in the area. Calum Kavanagh stepped up and sent Jackson Izquierdo the wrong way.

      Five minutes later, Kavanagh found a second. Following a scramble from a corner, Palace couldn’t clear, and a series of ricochets saw it bounce in off of Kavanagh.

      Palace now had it all to do, being two goals down inside the opening 25 minutes, though they couldn’t find a clear way to break down the Boro defence. Raymond tested Shea Connor in the Boro goal, though his tame effort was held.

      Just before the break, Kavanagh completed a first-half hat-trick with an audacious twisting flick inside the six-yard box. A ball across from Jack Stott looked to have gone past the No. 9, though he somehow got a critical touch to divert it goalbound on the turn.

      After going into the break three goals down, the Eagles had to win the second-half. Zach Marsh, who came on late on in the first-half for an injured Akinwale, looked lively and did have a couple of sights on goal.

      Kavanagh compounded the misery for Palace by tapping home his fourth from close range just 10 minutes into the second-half. Nathan Simpson squared it across the six-yard box and the in-form Kavanagh couldn’t miss.

      Being four goals to the good effectively allowed the visitors to see out most of the game and stifle any attempts Palace had at gaining a consolation.

      Dylan Reid fired narrowly over the bar with an effort from 25-yards out with 10 minutes remaining, while Marsh came close with a flick on just before stoppage time.

      In time added on there were two red cards. Reid was unfortunately shown a second yellow card for a second bookable offence, while Boro’s George Gitau was first booked for kicking the ball away and then booked again within a minute for a dangerous challenge on Noah Watson.

      The referee brought an end to proceedings shortly after the second red card. The result means that Palace remain in second place in Group H, one point behind leaders Birmingham, level with Boro, albeit ahead on goal difference and two clear of Ipswich in fourth with two games left to play.

      Palace: Izquierdo (GK), Imray (Cardines, 61), Sheridan, Watson, Rodney, Reid, Devenny, Wells-Morrison (Mustapha, 70), Mathurin, Akinwale (Marsh, 45+3), Raymond.

      Subs not used: Eastwood (GK), Francis.

      Boro: Connor (GK), Simpson (Beals, 88), Bilongo, Whelan (Lindo, 88), Hannah, Sykes, John, Stott, Kavanagh, Howells, Collins (Gitau, 51).

      Sub not used: Popple (GK).