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Report: U23s beaten by West Ham in six-goal thriller

Crystal Palace U23
Rich-Baghuelou 10'
Rak-Sakyi 52'
West Ham United U23
Oko-Flex 45' 59' 63'
Simon-Swyer 82'

West Ham United came from behind to beat Crystal Palace Under-23s in a pulsating fixture at the Academy, as Paddy McCarthy's young Eagles saw a superb three game winning run come to an end.


  • Paddy McCarthy makes a number of changes, including the return of Omilabu to the side

  • Rich-Baguelou heads home the opener from D. Boateng’s excellent delivery

  • Rosa fires wide after a blistering break forwards.

  • Oka-Flex equalises from the penalty spot after Rich-Baghuelou’s late challenge.

  • HT: Palace 1-1 West Ham

  • Rak-Sakyi misses the target after excellent work from Omilabu.

  • Moments later Rak-Sakyi drives through the defence and slots home.

  • Oko-Flex equalises with a smart finish from the angle.

  • He completes his hattrick moments later to give West Ham the lead.

  • Swyer makes it four with ten minutes to go.

  • FT: Palace 2-4 West Ham

The wet, blustery conditions that enveloped the show pitch at the Academy did nothing to stop these two sides producing a frenetic start. West Ham pushed high from the off, causing Palace to concede an early corner, before Palace’s own press almost gifted the ball to John-Kymani Gordon.

The visitors forced the first real chance, Armstrong Oko-flex curling wide from the edge of the area after David Boateng’s half-clearance was intercepted – although Oliver Webber likely had it covered. At the other end Palace broke forwards, David Omilabu and Nya Kirby combining to force a corner.

Latching on to a deeper than intended delivery, David Boateng skipped past his man and delivered a fine ball onto the head of Jay Rich-Baghuelou, who towered above his marker to powerfully head home.

The opening goal buoyed Palace, and soon Jesurun Rak-Sakyi was finding time on the ball to venture forwards. He was almost set in on goal by Omilabu, but the ball skipped away on the wet surface and the visitors could clear.

West Ham were still dangerous, a delicious square ball to Bernardo Rosa leaving the wide man in acres of space. His cross was blocked, the ball falling outside the area for shot on goal, but failing to trouble Oliver Webber.

Rosa was perhaps the biggest thorn in Palace side, robbing Noah Watson of the ball and breaking forwards at breakneck speed. Exchanging passes with a teammate, he received the ball in space and pulled the trigger, but narrowly fired wide.

Just before half-time, West Ham were given a way back into the game. Latching onto a long ball forwards, Daniel Chesters raced in behind the Palace defence and through on goal, only for his shot to be blocked by Webber. Sliding in was Rich-Baghuelou however, and the referee had no hesitation in pointing to the spot.

Oko-flex stepped up and tucked the ball home and, despite Palace domination of the first period, it saw West Ham go in level.

The second-half started no slower than the first, and Rak-Sakyi was at the centre of the action. The first chance was crafted by Omilabu, jinking away from the attentions of the defender before crossing low, only for a stretching Rak-Sakyi to miss the target.

Moments later he made up for the miss – and more. Picking the ball up on the right, he danced past two defenders and tried to tee up Gordon in the six-yard box; the ball ricocheted back to his feet, and he coolly slotted home.

Palace’s lead didn’t last long, and after Rak-Sakyi’s brilliance it was West Ham’s own special number 11 that drew them back level. Turning away from the defender as he raced into the area, the angle looked to tight for Oko-Flex to let fly, but he unleashed a stunning shot across the face of goal and in off the inside of the post.

Unhappy with several niggly refereeing decisions, Palace’s frustration began to show. The visitors reclaimed possession outside the hosts’ penalty area, the pressure forcing a loose challenge in the box to give them their second spot-kick of the game.

Oko-Flex stepped up and completed his hattrick with the cheekiest of ‘panenka’ penalties.

Palace pushed forwards to try and secure the equaliser, leaving space for West Ham to punish Palace on the break, and Kamarai Simon-Swyer added a fourth with ten minutes remaining.

The Eagles refused to let their heads drop, and Gordon almost got one back in the final moments. In the end it took a goalline clearance to keep his prodded effort out.

Rak-Sakyi kept pushing into the final seconds, displaying those quick feet that make him such a threat at Under-23s level, but in the end it wasn't enough to force Palace back into the game.

Palace: Webber (GK), D. Boateng, Rich-Baghuelou, O’Brien, Watson, M. Boateng, Taylor (Roles, 87), Kirby, Rak-Sakyi, Omilabu, Gordon.

Subs: Sanneh (GK), Thiselton, Quick, Imray.

West Ham: Hegyi (GK), Rosa, Fevrier, Ekwah, Greenidge, Forbes (Mubama, 77), Chesters (Clayton, 50), Potts, Swyer (Dju, 86), Forson, Okoflex.

Subs: Tarima, Kinnear.