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      Report: West Ham ends Palace U18s' eight-game unbeaten run

      West Ham United U18
      Mubama 35'
      Clayton 42'
      Crystal Palace U18
      Cadogan 30'

      Crystal Palace Under-18s lost a tight match with league-leaders West Ham United on Friday afternoon, bringing their commendable five-game winning, and eight-game unbeaten, run to a close.


      • Rob Quinn names a fairly youthful side, with no Owen Goodman, Ryan Bartley or Ademola Ola-Adebomi
      • The first 15 minutes are even and tight, with neither side looking settled
      • Both teams then enjoy a dominant spell, before Palace take the lead through Maliq Cadogan
      • West Ham pull themselves back after five minutes when Divin Mubama strikes in
      • The hosts take the lead after Regan Clayton squeezes the ball in from the left
      • Half-time: West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace
      • The second-half is quiet and scrappy, with West Ham defending their lead well
      • Callum Marshall almost adds a third but sees his low shot saved by Laurie Shala
      • The home side holds strong throughout the half
      • Full-time: West Ham 1-2 Crystal Palace

      Crystal Palace entered this game with five straight wins behind them, seeking to bridge the two-point gap with first place by sustaining their impressive form. In their way was a West Ham side riding even higher, occupying the league’s top spot and hoping to atone for last August's 2-1 loss in south London.

      This game's high stakes meant a cagey start as the two teams tested each other without taking the risk of wholeheartedly committing early on. West Ham largely restricted Palace to speculative, long passes, which flew in the face of their usual style.

      This hesitative football produced just one half-chance in the first 15 minutes: Victor Akinwale pirouetting in the box only to run into his marker and lose possession.

      Akinwale may not have threatened Jacob Knightbridge in the West Ham goal, but his panache was enough to spark a response from the home team, who settled in and began to assert their style, keeping the ball on the ground and moving forwards with greater intent.

      Power changed hands again however when Palace took control of the ball and started to express their purposeful passing style. It paid off after half an hour, when recently signed Joshua Addae darted forward along the right and then cut towards the centre of goal.

      He played a smart, low pass flat across to Maliq Cadogan in a crowded box, and the young midfielder placed pass Knightbridge first time.

      Perhaps unsurprisingly for two closely matched teams, this lead wouldn’t last long. Within five minutes of Cadogan’s opener Lewis Orford dispossessed James Leonard on the edge of the box, and forced the ball through to Divin Mubama.

      The striker lined-up his 13th goal of the season with a confident shot past Laurie Shala to restore parity.

      This match had truly come alive as it hurtled towards half-time. Both sides would have been frustrated to not take the lead after 40 minutes, with the visitors clearing off the line, but the Hammers would soon capitalise on an action-packed spell.

      Their lead came when Mubama laid-off Regan Clayton on the left-wing, the No.3 moved forwards and slammed past Shala from a shallow angle.

      Shortly before the break Palace tried to pull level with a Jadan Raymond free-kick, but the midfielder thwacked Archie Woods as he broke from the wall.

      At the restart Palace faced an even greater battle than they did at kick-off: fighting back against the league leaders, but this time with a one-goal deficit.

      Again however this half began in a scrappy fashion, as West Ham focused on keeping their guests quiet and protecting a slim lead.

      The south Londoners probed and roamed forwards without creating anything clear-cut, as West Ham stymied their guests’ efforts astutely. Indeed, they almost added to their lead when a corner bounced around the goal-mouth and Michael Forbes produced two stabs and an inadvertent deflection to scare Palace’s backline.

      They came even closer when Callum Marshall surged through one-on-one after winning possession from a goal-kick, however Shala blocked the No.10’s low effort.

      With 15 minutes left Palace stepped up their efforts: Vonnte Williams whipping a cross just past the post and Quinn exhausting his substitutions, but West Ham held strong, pressing the Eagles routinely and confidently handling any visiting attacks.

      The above phrasing became all the more apt in the 90+4th minute, when Palace players screamed for a penalty after an apparent handball, however the referee waved away the calls.

      As full-time came Palace had run out of time to flex their offensive muscles and fully settle into their style, having been stifled by an in-form, talented host.

      The result leaves the south Londoners still in a strong league position, five points off first with a game in hand.

      West Ham: Knightbridge, Robinson, Clayton, Falase, Casey, Forbes, Woods, Earthy (Cogginton 90+2), Mubama, Marshall (Kodua 75), Orford (Scarles 75).

      Subs not used: Terry.

      Palace: Shala, Addae, Williams, Ozoh, Leonard (Barton 72), Rodney, Cadogan, Raymond, Akinwale (Vigor 77), Mooney, Dixon (Obou 57).

      Subs not used: Bell, Eastwood.