- The Eagles kicked off knowing a win would send them top of the table
- David Omilabu fires home a penalty in 2nd minute
- Jesurun Rak-Sakyi’s shot falls to Omilabu for tap in and 2-0 lead
- Aston Villa score sloppy goal before half time
- Half-time: Palace 2-1 Aston Villa
- Joe Whitworth saves well to deny early second-half minute equaliser
- Jack Wells-Morrison scores back post header for 3-1 after half time
- Full-time: Palace 3-1 Aston Villa
In a sunny south London, the high-flying U18’s started the game at a frenetic pace.
From the kick-off McCarthy’s side pressed excellently and were winning the second balls, playing with great aggression. The high press was not allowing Aston Villa a moment’s rest on the ball and in the second minute their impressive energy won them a penalty.
Jack Wells-Morrison flicked a ball into the left channel which Tayo Adaramola looked to latch on to. The pacey full-back took a heavy touch, inviting Villa’s captain Paul Appiah to stick a leg out and he foul him right on the line – the referee pointed to the spot. The Villa players complained that the foul was outside the box, but the penalty was given and the in-form David Omilabu made no mistake, smashing it down the middle as the keeper dived to his right.
In the 15th minute Omilabu turned creator, as he weaved his way expertly down the left wing, past a couple of Villa defenders, to stand up a lovely cross for Jesuran Rak-Sakyi, but he could only head straight at the keeper. The frightening energy and pace of Palace’s attacking quartet was really troubling the Aston Villa defence, and a second goal looked imminent.
After a period of sustained possession from the south Londoners, Omilabu did score his second. Some incisive passing saw Wells-Morrison cut the ball back to Rak-Sakyi, and the tricky winger faked fired across the face of goal; Omilabu intelligently followed it in and was able to tap home.
Aston Villa looked to respond after a very lethargic start, and in the 32nd minute they got a goal back, as Palace failed to clear on a couple of occasions and Goodridge managed to stab the ball home. It was a disappointing goal to concede after what was a fantastic first-half for the home side.
Just before the break Victor Akinwale almost made it 3-1, hitting the bar following a mis-control from Oliwier Zych who was well out of his goal.
McCarthy’s side continued to look dangerous after the break, with the blistering pace of Omilabu, Adaramola, Rak-Sakyi and Akinwale all causing issues for the Villa backline.
In the 54th minute the Eagles made it 3-1 through a Jack Wells-Morrison header. Omilabu played a well-timed pass into the stride of an overlapping Adaramola, who floated a cross to the back post that eluded the goalkeeper, which allowed Wells-Morrison to head into the bottom corner.
With 20 minutes to go, Omilabu nearly got his what would have been a second hat-trick in two games. Aidan Steele won the ball back and quickly set Palace on the counter-attack; with Omilabu on his favoured left side, he placed it just past the left post.
Villa’s last real chance to get anything from the game came from a free-kick, as Arjan Raikhy struck the underside of the bar from just outside the penalty area, and Whitworth caught a follow-up header.
Palace: Whitworth (GK), Thiselton, Adaramola, Steele (c), Sheridan, Quick, Omilabu (Cadogan, 80), Rodney, Akinwale (Ola-Adebomi, 92), Wells-Morrison, Rak-Sakyi.
Subs not used: Goodman (GK), Ling, Gonzalez.
Aston Villa: Zych (GK), Jay-Hart, Revan, Appiah (c), Swinkels, Sylla (Bogarde, 60), Goodridge (Reddin, 82), O’Reilly, Young, Raikhy (McBride, 82), Sewell.
Subs not used: Marschall (GK), O’Reilly.