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Report: Youthful Palace beaten at Barnet in pre-season opener

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Crystal Palace

A late Courtney Senior wondergoal saw Crystal Palace – who fielded separate teams in each half – slip to a 1-0 defeat in their first pre-season friendly of the summer.


  • Hodgson shares minutes with separate XIs in each half
  • O’Brien and Rodney make key interceptions for Palace
  • Phillips curls narrowly wide after quarter-of-an-hour
  • Banks volleys wide following chipped Riedewald pass
  • Reece-Johnson slides ball past far post for Barnet
  • HT: Barnet 0-0 Palace
  • Plange sees low shot across goal tipped round the post
  • Whitworth denies Kabamba with his feet
  • Senior settles the game for Barnet with late curling strike
  • Edouard sees late effort blocked
  • FT: Barnet 1-0 Palace
Extended Highlights: Barnet 1-0 Crystal Palace | Palace TV+

With Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson’s international players having only returned to training a day prior, their omission from the squad for the first pre-season match of 2023/24 presented opportunities for a wide range of players, young and old, to impress.

Barnet were playing their third pre-season game in a week and, understandably, appeared a touch sharper in the opening stages, forcing 22-year-old Palace defender Jake O’Brien to be on his toes to make a stretching headed clearance inside the opening seconds.

Moments later, fellow Academy product Kaden Rodney was also in the right place at the right time to head away a deep cross as a Barnet forward lurked menacingly.

Palace’s clearest opportunity of the first half arrived after 13 minutes. A delightful threaded pass from Scott Banks – who impressed on loan at Bradford City last season – allowed Jean-Phillippe Mateta to stretch his legs, seeing off the challenge of two defenders before squaring to Killian Phillips.

The Republic of Ireland U21 international provided Shrewsbury Town with a bustling goalscoring presence from midfield in the second half of last season, and came close to opening Palace’s account for the year with a curling effort – narrowly wide of the far post.

Banks came close moments later with a volleyed effort from Jaïro Riedewald’s chipped pass over the top, but chances were proving hard to come by at The Hive, with both teams competing well.

Barnet had the better of the attacking opportunities in the remainder of the half and maybe ought to have gone ahead shortly before half-time, but Reece Hall-Johnson’s slide-rule finish whistled past Remi Matthews’ far post.

A fully-changed Palace XI emerged for the second half, with senior first-team players Joel Ward, Tyrick Mitchell, Will Hughes and Odsonne Edouard joined by an array of young talents from the Eagles’ Academy.

A raft of changes for both teams at the interval led to a reinjection of energy and, with it, pace in the game, Barnet’s Sam Beard driving over from range.

And it was such pace which saw Luke Plange have Palace’s best effort of the match so far, sprinting in behind to meet a Jesurun Rak-Sakyi chipped pass. The young forward fired an accurate low strike across goal, but was denied by the fingertips of Barnet ‘keeper Laurie Walker.

Barnet responded with Beard’s looping header dropping beyond the far post, before Joe Whitworth – who became Palace’s youngest-ever Premier League goalkeeper last season – denied Nicke Kabamba with his feet after the forward capitalised on a loose touch to run clean in on goal.

As proved the case in the first half, early pre-season legs began to tire as the half wore on and energy levels noticeably dropped – but there was still time for a moment of magic to settle proceedings.

Off the bench for the second half, Barnet’s sprightly winger Senior collected a pass between the lines 40 yards from goal, turned and – shaping his body brilliantly – curled an impressive effort right into the top corner, leaving Whitworth with no chance at all,

There was still time for one final Palace opportunity in the closing moments as Plange’s first-time cross appeared to have dropped invitingly for Edouard to shoot on the penalty spot, only for the Frenchman to be closed down.

But although Palace slipped to defeat against a Barnet team more advanced in their own pre-season preparations, the run-out proved a valuable exercise for an Eagles side only days into their 23/24 training.

Palace first-half XI: Matthews (GK); Clyne, Tomkins, O’Brien, Rodney, Phillips, Ahamada, Riedewald, Ebiowei, Mateta, Banks

Palace second-half XI: Whitworth (GK); Ward, Balmer, Grehan, Mitchell, Hughes (Boateng, 89), Ozoh (Gordon, 89), Wells-Morrison, Edouard, Rak-Sakyi, Plange

As It Happened