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Report & Highlights: Young Eagles fire five past Saints in season opener

Crystal Palace U18
Obou 40'
Derry 45'
Marsh 79' 87' 90'
Southampton U18

On a sunny Saturday afternoon at Copers Cope, Crystal Palace Under-18s got their 2023/24 campaign off to a perfect start with a 5-0 win over Southampton. First-half goals from David Obou and Jesse Derry were followed up by a Zach Marsh hat-trick to send Palace to the top of the table.


  • Rob Quinn names a strong side, with four new scholars starting

  • Palace have a number of half-chances, but can't find an early opener

  • Obou slots home after a Palace counter attack five minutes before the break

  • On the stroke of half-time, Derry adds a second

  • HT: Palace 2-0 Southampton

  • Eastwood saves Robinson’s well-struck effort

  • Henry, Marsh and Derry come close to finding a third

  • Mustapha is fouled inside the box and Marsh converts the penalty in the 79th minute

  • Dobson-Ventura is shown a second yellow for the challenge, Saints down to 10 men

  • Marsh adds a second and Palace’s fourth in the 85th minute

  • In the 90th minute, Marsh seals his hat-trick and fifth goal for Palace

  • FT:  Palace 5-0 Southampton

U18 Match Highlights: Crystal Palace 5-0 Southampton

Following on from last season’s third-place finish, Crystal Palace Under-18s began their new U18 Premier League South campaign with a clash against 2021/22 winners Southampton.

Head coach Rob Quinn listed four new scholars in his first XI of the season - Tyler Whyte, Mofe Jemide, Matteo Dashi and Jesse Derry, along with a bench entirely composed of first-year scholars.

With both teams wanting to make a positive start to the new campaign, chances were flowing throughout the first-half. The majority of Palace chances early on came from Southampton’s own mistakes; the young Eagles pressed from the front and put the visitors under immense pressure.

Zach Marsh was denied by the ‘keeper early on after Jake Grante won the ball back high up the pitch from a misplaced pass from Josh Jeffries in the Saints goal. Down the other end, Nicholas Oyekunle fell as he turned and shot, seeing his effort deflect out wide.

Rio Cardines saw his attempt from a free-kick bounce back off the wall, while Jemide saw his header held by Jeffries. Hindolo Mustapha also had a chance from the edge of the box that tested the ‘keeper all before the half-hour mark.

It looked as though the sides would go into the break level, though Palace had other ideas. Mustapha did well to win the ball high up the pitch, dispossessing Harrison Miles and playing a perfectly weighted path into David Obou who finished first-time on his right foot.

Obou’s opener came five minutes before the interval and, on the stroke of half-time, Palace doubled their lead through Derry. A Southampton corner was cleared into the path of Marsh, who ran from inside his own half towards the byline, he played a ball across the box into the path of Derry and the winger managed to get just enough on an effort that trickled in.

Though the south Londoners were two goals to the good, it was the visitors who started the second-half brightly in search of a way back into the game. Billy Eastwood was called into action just 10 minutes after the restart - the young ‘keeper saved Jay Robinson’s well-struck effort from the edge of the box.

Second-half substitute Zack Henry was at the forefront of Palace’s attacks in the second-half, though he saw his efforts saved by Jeffries. Marsh also had two efforts, one which was just across the face of goal and another where he couldn’t get a clean strike away.

There were just over 10 minutes remaining when Mustapha was brought down inside the box following a surging run. Tommy Dobson-Ventura was shown a second yellow card for his challenge and Marsh duly stepped up from 12-yards. The Palace skipper made no mistake from the spot, sending Jeffries the wrong way.

A few minutes later, Marsh was wheeling away in celebration once more after securing a brace. A driven ball across the box from Henry found Marsh inside the six-yard box and the No. 9 got a decisive touch to guide it into the back of the net.

Three points were all but secured after that goal, however Marsh wasn’t finished yet. In the 90th minute, Marsh picked up a loose ball and drove towards goal. The striker played a quick one-two with Derry out wide and finished with ease inside the box to complete a 10-minute hat-trick.

Almost immediately after Marsh’s third, the referee brought an end to the first game of the campaign with no time added on. A perfect start for the young Eagles which sees them top the Under 18 Premier League South after the first set of fixtures.

Palace: Eastwood (GK), Whyte, Grante, Jemide, Cardines (Adams-Collman, 45), Austin, Dashi (Redhead, 80), Mustapha, Derry, Marsh, Obou (Henry, 45).

Subs not used: Hill (GK), King.

Southampton: Jeffries (GK), Evans, Moore, Dobson-Ventura, Sheaf, Miles (Sesay, 62), Robinson (Edmonson, 82), Williams, Oyekunle (Pitts, 69), Andrews, Merry.

Subs not used: Diabaga, Richardson.