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Report: Palace XI held by Brentford B

Christian Benteke's excellent first-half finish was cancelled out by a second-half equaliser as a Crystal Palace XI were held to a draw by an impressive Brentford B side.

Summary:

  • Palace XI contains a host of first-team names including Conor Gallagher and Christian Benteke.

  • Brentford start sharply, pressing Palace high up the pitch.

  • Scott Banks fires over from the edge of the area after a jinking run from Jesurun Rak-Sakyi.

  • Benteke fires over with Rak-Sakyi causing trouble once again.

  • HT: Palace XI 1-0 Brentford B

  • Brentford win a penalty after Martin Kelly is adjudged to have handled, but Butland saves.

  • Brentford equalise from the resulting corner through Steven’s header.

  • Rak-Sakyi has a goal ruled out for offside.

  • Both sides have real chances to win it at the end, as Brentford strike the post before Sean Robertson is denied from close range.

  • FT: Palace XI 1-1 Brentford B

Brentford started the fastest on a beautiful sunny afternoon in south London, pushing Palace deep into their own half and putting pressure on their attempts to play out from the back.

Their first shot on goal came just three minutes in, as Mads Badstrup latched onto a bobbling ball in the hosts’ area, but saw his half-volley deflected behind.

The Eagles began to control the ball with more confidence as the first-half wore on, with Gallagher seeing plenty of the ball and displaying some neat footwork to pass the Brentford press.

With the ball worked to Rak-Sakyi, the Palace winger feinted away from two defenders to advance into a crossing position. Spotting Banks check his run, he pulled the ball back to the edge of the area but the effort on goal was just too high.

Rak-Sakyi was the dangerman for Palace, and this time his marauding run down the right-hand side allowed him to pick out Benteke on the edge of the area, but the ball was just behind the Belgian and his shot was over the crossbar.

Palace were ramping up the pressure, and it was their turn to pen Brentford into their own half. Stepping into midfield, Hannam intercepted a clearance and found Banks, who turned and saw the space open up on the edge of the box but dragged his shot wide.

In the end, it was a moment of first-team quality that broke the deadlock as Palace took the lead. Rak-Sakyi was involved once again, driving a ball into the feet of Benteke just outside the area. Flicking the ball past his marker with a sumptuous first touch, he finished confidently to make it 1-0.

Brentford could – and perhaps should – have been level just moments later, as Stevens nipped in ahead of Hannam at the far post, but cannoned his effort against the woodwork from just six-yards out.

The second-half started in frantic fashion, as the visitors pushed for an equaliser right from the off. Catching Palace unaware from a short corner, Butland was forced into a smart stop after a powerful effort from the angle.

From the resulting corner, the ball bounced up onto Martin Kelly’s arm and the referee pointed to the spot, but Jack Butland got down well to his right to push the penalty behind.

Palace’s reprieve lasted just seconds, as the third corner in as many minutes found Stevens at the far post to head home from just yards out; Butland had no chance this time.

The hosts could have been back in front shortly after when Jack Wells-Morrison found Gallagher, who poked the ball through to Benteke one-on-one with the goalkeeper. With the defender making up ground, the forward got his shot away early but missed the target from the edge of the box.

Palace had the ball in the back of the net through Jesurun Rak-Sakyi, but the offside flag was raised as he wheeled away to celebrate.

Substitutions for both sides saw the game become scrappier, with Brentford’s press re-energised by the introduction of fresh legs. Omilabu looked dangerous, winning a free-kick cutting in from the left.

After Rak-Sakyi’s ball in was headed clear, it fell for Clyne on the edge of the box; his volleyed effort was struck with power but was always flying wide.

Brentford B hadn’t given up on a winner, breaking away and firing a low ball across the face of goal, but the attacker sliding in couldn’t turn it goalwards. But Palace were living on the edge, and seconds later a long-range strike struck the inside of Butland's post and bounced away - the Brentford B bench claimed it crossed the line, but the referee was unmoved.

Then it was Palace’s turn to bomb forwards as they game came to a frantic conclusion. First Omilabu came forward, denied by the keeper from a tight angle. The ball fell to Rak-Sakyi on the volley, but his effort flashed wide. In the final minute Sean Robertson had a chance to seal the victory, but his shot from the angle was pushed away.

With both sides perhaps feeling they had done enough to win the game, it ended all square.

Palace XI: Butland, Clyne, O'Brien, Kelly, Hannam, M. Boateng, Gallagher (Steele, 76), Wells-Morrison (Robertson, 76), Rak-Sakyi, Benteke (Street, 60), Banks (Omilabu, 76).

Subs not used: Whitworth (GK).

Brentford B: Cox (Winterbottom, HT), Hockenhull (Crama, 63), Stevens, Oyegoke, Russell, Gordon, Haygarth (Trevitt, 76), Bidstrup (Jefferies, 60), Maghoma, Gilbert (Brook, 76), Young-Coombes (Trialist, 76).

Subs not used: Hercules.