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      U21s Report: Blades end Palace’s Premier League Cup run

      Crystal Palace U21
      Omilabu 90+4'
      Sheffield United U21
      Hackford 54'

      Crystal Palace Under-21s saw their Premier League Cup campaign come to an end with a 1-1 draw against Sheffield United. A goal from David Omilabu right at the death was not enough for Palace as they finished third in Group E.


      • Paddy McCarthy made four changes to the side

      • Palace had chances early on through Kofi Balmer and Fionn Mooney

      • Victor Akinwale fired just over from a breakaway in the 40th minute

      • Joe Whitworth saved an effort from Antwoine Hackford just before the interval

      • Half-time: Crystal Palace 0-0 Sheffield United

      • Hackford put the visitors ahead 53 minutes in

      • Play was delayed due to an injury to Kofi Balmer

      • Whitworth pulled off three solid saves to deny Sheffield United late on in the half

      • Palace levelled through David Omilabu in the fourth minute of stoppage time

      • Full-time: Crystal Palace 1-1 Sheffield United

      U21 Match Highlights: Crystal Palace 1-1 Sheffield United

      Five days on from the 2-4 victory over fierce rivals Brighton & Hove Albion in the Premier League 2, Palace Under-21s were in Premier League Cup action in a must-win game against Sheffield United.

      Manager Paddy McCarthy made four changes to the side, with Joe Whitworth, David Boateng, Matty Vigor and Victor Akinwale coming in to the side in place of Owen Goodman, David Ozoh, Jack Wells-Morrison and John-Kymani Gordon.

      Palace were on top in the opening 10 minutes of the game. Fionn Mooney came close to finding an early breakthrough after a well-worked move down the right, though he fired narrowly wide.

      Kofi Balmer, who was named captain, found himself with time and space inside the box to get a volley away; though Callum Hiddlestone held on to his effort.

      Chances were few and far between as the half went on. Both Palace and Sheffield United were leaving little-to-no space for either side to break in behind or to get a shot off.

      Palace did manage to fashion a chance late on in the half through Victor Akinwale. The forward was played in after Balmer went on a marauding run through the middle of the park, but his effort was just over the bar.

      Whitworth, who recently signed a new contract extension, was called into action late on as Antwoine Hackford managed to elude the Palace defence. The ‘keeper stood tall to deny his first attempt on goal to ensure that both  sides went into the break level.

      After the interval, the visitors managed to take the lead. Hackford found himself in the right place at the right time to get on the end of a Theo Williams ball across the box, following a Sheffield United counter-attack, and managed to tap in from close range.

      Palace had it all to do, after going a goal down, and looked to find a way back into the game. Much like the first-half, chances were hard to come by.

      The Blades nearly inadvertently doubled their lead from a corner on the hour-mark, as the ball ricocheted off Williams and into Levis Pitan, but it was scrambled away in the end by the Palace defence.

      Whitworth was once again called into action to keep Palace in the game with 15 minutes remaining. He parried an effort over the bar from Williams, before pulling off a double save one-on-one with Hackford.

      With six minutes of time added on, it was looking unlikely that Palace would find the two goals needed to claim all three points. They did manage to pull one back from David Omilabu in the fourth minute of stoppage time, from the second-phase of a corner, but that proved to be too little, too late.

      Palace couldn’t find a second before full-time and the result means that the Under-21s finish third in Group E and are knocked out of this season’s Premier League Cup.

      Crystal Palace: Whitworth, D. Boateng (Imray, 62), Grehan, Balmer (Watson, 62), Adaramola, Rodney, Vigor, Mooney, Akinwale, Omilabu, Ola-Adebomi.

      Subs not used: Izquierdo, Addae, Marsh.

      Sheffield United: Hiddlestone, Starbuck, Buyabu, Potter, Pitan, Gomis, Hampson, Staniland, Hackford, Williams, Marsh.

      Subs not used: Yam, Angell, Smith, Dickson, Macedo.