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      Report: Palace U21s transformed in second-half for Newcastle cup win

      Newcastle United U21
      Crystal Palace U21
      Gordon 53'

      Crystal Palace Under-21s produced an impressive attacking display after an uneventful first-half against Newcastle United, beating the Magpies 0-1 through an excellent John-Kymani Gordon strike to sit three points clear at the top of their Premier League Cup group.


      • Palace enter the game with a chance to sit three points clear at the top of their Premier League Cup group
      • After a scrappy, quiet first half an hour both teams create chances in the 30th minute: Joe Whitworth denying James Huntley and Ademola Ola-Adebomi forcing a stop from Jude Smith
      • Half-time: Newcastle United 0-0 Crystal Palace Under-21s
      • The second-half begins brightly, with Newcastle creating chances and Palace attacking with speed – Jack Wells-Morrison shoots just wide
      • John-Kymani Gordon scores an impressive effort from the far edge of the box to hand Palace the lead
      • Newcastle create a handful of chances in response but Palace handle them well
      • The south Londoners create further chances and perhaps ought to go two ahead
      • Full-time: Newcastle United 0-1 Crystal Palace Under-21s

      Not long after the first-team held high-flying Newcastle to a 0-0 League Cup draw, Crystal Palace Under-21s faced the same challenge: cup competition against the Magpies on a crisp evening in the north-east.

      But unlike their senior counterparts Newcastle’s U21s were in patchy form entering this game, with Palace sitting at the top of their group in the Premier League Cup pre-match.

      U21 Match Highlights: Newcastle United 0-1 Crystal Palace

      Perhaps it was this opportunity that inspired Palace to a driven start, with John-Kymani Gordon, Fionn Mooney and Jadan Raymond creating chances across the final third as the game found its opening rhythm.

      But for all Palace’s attacking liveliness Jude Smith’s gloves remained clean, with his back four playing with discipline and organisation despite having a high-pressing midfield ahead of them.

      After the opening exchanges the game reached much greater parity and Palace were forced to show their defensive clout. They weathered a spell of home pressure with a mixture of skill and force, enduring a scrappy passage in the middle of the first-half.

      Yet both ‘keepers remained largely untroubled, with the Magpies’ first shot coming after half an hour when James Huntley sent Joe Whitworth into a diving catch, and Palace’s in the same minute through Ademola Ola-Adebomi, who struck low into Smith’s legs.

      These efforts failed to spark the game into further action but Palace ended the half on top nonetheless without upsetting the equilibrium. They entered the break with little to reflect on for either side.

      Newcastle opened the half with just a second shot on target that Whitworth saved well and tried to counter swiftly from, indicating a more urgent 45 minutes ahead than those that preceded the break.

      Palace have eased themselves into games of late, so to see them press and harry their hosts after a steady start was no surprise as the Magpies sought to test Whitworth from distance, Joe White producing the best of three shots.

      At the other end Smith tipped a Tayo Adaramola cross behind to safety and Jack Wells-Morrison launched the ball just wide from the resulting corner.

      But it was Gordon who capitalised on this lively spell. The striker, playing on the left-wing with greater frequency, drove along the flank before cutting in on his right with just a sliver of a chance on the cards. Keeping his centre of gravity low Gordon managed to get his head up and fire past Smith from the far edge of the box – Wilfried Zaha-esque.

      Newcastle responded with a brief spell of pressure, forcing Adaramola and Gordon to clear instinctively as they crammed the box with black-and-white shirts. Shortly after substitute Josh Scott rifled the ball over the bar from six yards out as he burst into the box under Adaramola’s watchful marking.

      As in the first-half Palace rode the wave, and this time they kept it restrained. Regaining their attacking impetus they came close to doubling their lead when Raymond struck close to goal.

      As the game ticked past its 70th minute Ola-Adebomi headed onto the post and David Ozoh saw a shot deflected wide on the end of a well-worked chance orchestrated by Danny Imray.

      While his team attacked and thrived going forward, at the base of the XI Whitworth stayed alert, leaping across his goal to palm an effort away from 25 yards, covering ground well and getting good height on his dive.

      Full-time drew near and Palace had transformed their evening, playing significantly more proactively in the second-half than in the first. Their defence began up-front and they pinned the Magpies back while guarding a single-goal lead.

      The final whistle sounded to confirm that goal – a fine Gordon effort – as sufficient for victory, moving Palace three points clear at the top of their Premier League Cup group.

      Newcastle United: Smith, Barclay, Hackett, Huntley (Ndiweni, Brookwell, Murphy, Stephenson, White, Westendoorf (Scott 57), Turner-Cooke, Miley.

      Subs not used: Wiggett, Thompson, Miley.

      Crystal Palace: Whitworth, Imray, Grehan, Phillips, Adaramola, Ozoh, Wells-Morrison, Raymond (Cadogan 68), Mooney (Omilabu 68), Ola-Adebomi (Rodney 83), Gordon.

      Subs not used: Goodman, Bartley.