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      Report: Palace U18s earn deserved draw after late penalty

      Norwich City U18
      Aboh 11' 44'
      Crystal Palace U18
      Cardines 40'
      Agbinone 86'

      Crystal Palace Under-18s earned a well-deserved point against Norwich City on Saturday morning after Asher Agbinone converted a late penalty to end the game 2-2.


      • Rio Cardines makes his first start of the season
      • Norwich take the lead after 10 minutes through Kenneth Aboh close to goal
      • Palace respond well, forcing their hosts back and calling goalkeeper Caleb Ansen into action
      • The south Londoners pull level through Cardines after a strong spell of pressure
      • Norwich regain their lead quickly, with Aboh heading home on the end of Alfie Pinyoun’s well-placed cross
      • Half-time: Norwich City 2-1 Crystal Palace Under-18s
      • Hindolo Mustapha's goalbound header was saved by Ansen early on in the second-half
      • Zach Marsh won a penalty for Palace on the hour-mark, but Ansen saved Junior Dixon's effort
      • Palace drew level late on after Asher Agbinone stepped up to level with a penalty late on
      • Full-time: Norwich City 2-2 Crystal Palace Under-18s

      Two similar styles came head to head when Crystal Palace kicked-off against Norwich City, with the Eagles and Canaries both pushing forward best along the left-wing but meeting organised defences more than capable of shutting-out attacks around the markings of the penalty box.

      They were well-matched throughout the opening 10 minutes but the hosts enjoyed the greater attacking impetus. That paid off with the game’s first shot on target when Michael Reindorf played the ball to Harrison Thompson, who drove along the right-wing before whipping a cross into the box.

      Under pressure from the home defence, Kenneth Aboh had to be strong to knock the ball in first time from a few yards out.

      U18 Match Highlights: Norwich City 2-2 Crystal Palace

      Palace responded well, keeping their heads up and focused on the task at hand, pushing their hosts back and forcing ‘keeper Caleb Ansen to defend his goal-mouth.

      Adler Nascimento landed a shot on target by sending a dipping free-kick towards the underside of the crossbar from 20 yards, but Ansen rose up and got a fairly comfortable palm to it.

      The midfielder went closer still soon after, running into the box and whipping a ball across goal which Ansen pushed out. The chance remained live however and finally ended when Freddie Bell struck wide of the frame.

      The south Londoners sustained their pressure as Norwich struggled to re-establish their grip on the game, encapsulated by an impressive run from Hindolo Mustapha, who broke to the byline and chipped a ball towards the near post to no avail.

      They earned a deserved reward as Norwich sat deep for a prolonged period. Rio Cardines bagged the equaliser on his first start of the season, netting from the centre of the box after Marsh produced a lively run on the right – as he had frequently throughout the half.

      The goal was no more than Palace deserved but the home side negated it with speed. Their lead was restored impressively as Alfie Pinyoun crossed from afar into the box and Aboh headed home a second first time, far past the flying Jackson Izquierdo in goal.

      Again the Eagles collected themselves to drive at their hosts, and in the 45th minute Nascimento would have equalised but for a reflexive Ansen save high to the centre of goal.

      The ‘keeper kept his side ahead for half-time, which began moments later. His team had a lot to thank him for, and entering the break he'd forced Palace to accept a harsh disadvantage.

      Rob Quinn’s side returned to action with an early second-half corner and had similar intent to their earlier efforts.

      Marsh, who had played well all game along the right, landed a shot on target which Ansen had to get across to. But this half was quieter than the first, with Norwich having to protect their lead without too much cause for concern from their guests.

      That changed on the hour mark, when Cardines lofted a free-kick into the box and Waylon Renecke hauled down Marsh. Junior Dixon stepped up calmly and sent the ball far to the goalkeeper’s right, but Ansen reached across well and pushed his effort to safety – a highlight in a solid personal performance.

      Palace had a chance to pull level regardless almost immediately in a near-mirror-image of cardines’ earlier cross, though this time Ansen saved a near-post header.

      As in the first-half Palace kept up their efforts while the balance of play was on their side. A break for a Norwich player to receive treatment and a few substitutions interrupted their momentum slightly, but newly-fielded Asher Agbinone looked energetic once on the pitch.

      Nascimento launched an effort a little too high and Palace committed forward but the clock continued to click with Norwich in the lead.

      With just over five minutes left substitute Agbinone earned a second Palace penalty as he ran through on the right of the box. He stepped up to convert it, striking low and under the ‘keeper to restore parity after a lengthy stretch behind.

      With half a minute on the clock Marsh then found himself almost one-on-one, confidently holding possession 10 yards from goal and cutting around his marker. Right in front of the ‘keeper he struck well towards goal, but Ansen produced another strong save to keep Palace from victory.

      It may have taken two spot-kicks but the south Londoners deserved to sit level with Norwich at the end of a game they dominated in large parts. On another day, of course, the hosts may have held out to win, but by the same token Palace could have won by two goals or more. In games like that, a draw is usually a fair outcome.

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      Norwich: Ansen, Pinyoun, McCabe, Renecke, Djedje, Aboh, Welch, Reindorf, Thompson (Roberts 68), Eze.

      Subs not used: Giller, Amadou, Campbell.

      Palace: Jackson; Kporha, Jemide, Grante, Cardines; Austin, Bell, Mustapha; Nascimento, Dixon (Agbinone 67), Marsh.

      Subs not used: Barton, Hill, Socoliche, Marroni.